Hors d’Oeuvres and Appetizers
This post comes from my friend Chef Todd Mohr who you may have seen in my Novice2Pro Chef Interview with Todd Mohr.
Inspiration – Hors d’ Oeuvres and Appetizers
Hors d’Oeuvres is translated as “outside the meal”. These one to two bite morsels are meant to stimulate the palate and appetite before the main meal. Today, hors d’oeuvres events are more popular than ever because of the wide variety of attractive, artful items that can easily be created. Hors d’oeuvres are en vogue.
Hors d’oeuvres should be small, one or two bites. They should be flavorful and well seasoned, but not overpowering to shut down taste buds. They should also be visually attractive and compliment the meal to follow, or other hors d’oeuvres to be served.
To provide a comprehensive list of hot hors d’oeuvres would be virtually impossible, and limit-less. Global availability of food items, new products, and your creativity gives you license to create anything you imagine.
Some commonly encountered hot hors d’oeuvres:
1) Filled Pastry Shells – Savory (unsweetened) tartlets, choux puffs, or other small dough products are most often baked to remove moisture content, then filled with warm meat, poultry, fish purees, or ragouts, garnished and served hot. They become soggy quickly, so must be prepared as closely to service as possible.
2) Brochettes / Skewers / Kabobs – Hors d’oeuvres brochettes are small skewers holding a combination of meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or vegetables. They are normally baked, grilled or broiled and served with a dipping sauce. Soaking wooden skewers in water before assembly can prevent them from burning.
3) Meatballs – Meatballs are made from ground beef, veal, pork, or poultry and served in a sauce buffet style. Fish and shellfish can also be bound with egg whites or veloute white sauces to create a fish “meatball.”
4) Rumaki – Traditionally, rumaki were made by wrapping chicken livers in bacon and broiling or baking them. Today, however, many other foods prepared in the same fashion are called rumaki. For example, blanched bacon can be wrapped around olives, asparagus, water chestnuts, scallops, or pineapple. Thinly sliced Italian meats like prosciutto or salami can be used in the same way.
5) Stuffed Wonton Skins – Wonton skins are an Asian noodle dough used to produce a wide variety of hors d’oeuvres such as miniature egg rolls or puffs filled with cream cheese and crab. They can be filled with anything your creativity allows. Wonton skins can be pan fried, deep fried or steamed as for dumplings.
6) Endless Others – Consider phyllo dough wrapped around spinach and cheese filling, or vegetables such as mushroom caps or hollowed small red potatoes filled with sour cream and caviar or Roquefort cheese and walnuts. Tiny artichoke hearts or oyster shells filled with your favorite cheese, fish or shellfish are attractive appetizers.
There are really only two limitations on the type of food and manner of preparation that can be used for hors d’oeuvres: the chef’s imagination and the foods at his or her disposal. The greatest ingredient you can add (any) is your creativity. Invent something new this holiday and share it with friends!