If you’re hosting a party this holiday season, throw away the sit-down dinner menu and whip up some easy and delicious appetizers to excite your guests. These recipes are also vegetarian-friendly!
Onion and goat cheese tartlets
2 tbsp olive oil
4 red onions, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sheets shortcrust pastry
3.5oz fresh goat’s cheese
Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Heat olive oil in a pot. Add the onions and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, cooking over medium heat and stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes. The onions on the bottom should become quite dark but not burnt – when it darkens, remove from heat and allow to sit for 3-5 mins for the onions on top to sweat and soften those underneath. Stir well, return to the heat and continue to cook for about 10 mins until the onions are completely soft and dark, golden brown, removing the pot from the heat occasionally to allow further softening. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
- To make the tart cups, lay pastry sheets on surface and cut into circles (2 inches diameter). Grease a muffin tray or tartlet cooking cups with butter. Fit pastry circles to cups. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool.
- Spoon equal amounts of caramelised onion into tartlets. Top with a small slice of goats cheese and garnish with thyme to serve.
Note: To speed things up, purchase pre-made tartlet cups from the supermarket.
Olive and sundried tomato crostini
- Preheat the oven to 400F (200C)
- Combine cream cheese and feta in a mixer until smooth.
- Slice the bread into 1/4 inch slices, place on a baking tray and splash with olive oil. Toast in oven until golden.
- Put garlic cloves, olives and sun-dried tomatoes in bowl of food processor. Pulse until coarsley chopped but not pureed. Slice basil in ribbons and stir into tapenade.
- Roughly spread the olive and tomato tapenade onto crostini and serve.
Smoked salmon on rye
Makes approx. 24
1 loaf rye bread, lightly toasted
5 oz crème fraiche
5 oz light cream cheese
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, 1tbsp finely chopped
8 oz smoked salmon
Pinch of salt
- Using a cookie cutter, cut out circles (1.5 inch diameter) from the lightly toasted rye bread. Alternatively you can cut into halves or quarters.
- Using an electric mixer, mix crème fraiche, cream cheese and lemon juice together until smooth. Fold through dill and chives, and add a pinch of salt. Using a teaspoon, dollop a small amount onto the rye toast.
- Slice smoked salmon into strips and roll up. Place one on top of each canape. Garnish with sprig of dill.
Images via seriouseats.com, garnishwithlemon.com, goodtoknow.co.uk