It’s not a race to the turkey — it’s a party! Before you hit the buffet, whet your appetite with a few small bites. Whether you’re laying out an appetizer spread, an hors d’oeuvre course or going full fancy with amuse-bouches, we’ve got the first courses that will impress your guests and possibly make the turkey jealous it didn’t get to the party earlier.
Using cocktail swords for appetizer skewers is great, because they’re swords. On top of it all, “coppa caprese” is fun to say. Make these hefty two-bite appetizers for your next shindig and watch them vanish from the platter.
Recipe: Mushroom Pâté
Woodsy and earthy, this tasty terrine makes an impressive vegetarian appetizer. Spread it on a warm, crusty piece of baguette and you’ll leave your guests swooning. If you have leftover pâté, heat it up in a skillet with a little cream and chicken broth for a quick yet exquisite pasta sauce.
Recipe: Onion And Olive Pissaladière
This savory caramelized onion tart hails from Nice in the Provence region of France. Known for its thick dough and lusty topping of flavorful onion confit and luscious Caillette or Niçoise olives, this sophisticated pizza can be enjoyed as an appetizer or main dish. To save time, you can use ready-made pizza dough for the crust instead of making your own. You can also divide the dough into quarters and make four individual sizes instead. Use a gluten-free pizza dough to make this gluten free.
These mini stuffed lamb meatballs are just about everything you could ask for in a one-bite party snack: meaty, cheesy, tangy, savory and sweet all at the same time. Do not underestimate the amount of these people will eat, particularly the ones who realize they love ground lamb all of a sudden after years of claiming not to like lamb.
Recipe: Rosemary Black Olive Grissini
These long, thin, crunchy breadsticks appeal to the child in me. I love how they snap when bitten and release their olive undertone. Even more, I love to play with them. Use them instead of a spoon to stir crème fraîche into your soup. Turn them into edible chopsticks and devour some roasted cauliflower or challenge your fellow diners to a grissini duel. The winner gets all the breadsticks.
This is tzatziki transformed into a simple, refreshing mousse. It is very light and innocent of garlic: Serve a slice with very good smoked salmon as a starter, or present it garnished with dill as part of a medley of mezze.
Need an easy, flavorful and light appetizer to keep the crowd in check while the whole pig roasts? These ultra-casual crostini — seriously, don’t even slice the bread, just tear it apart, toss with finely chopped garlic and olive oil and toast briefly in a hot oven — sport smoked fish spread and tangy, spicy pickled peppers. It’s a match made in grill party heaven.
Each of these diminutive spiced chicken patties is served on a lettuce leaf with red onion and cilantro, topped with a spoonful of sweet chili-hot confit. Serve as a light meal with couscous and salad, or as canapes.
Recipe: Oysters With Calvados
While many prefer their oysters au naturel or very simply fried, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little booze to the party and heating things up. The fruity flavor of Calvados, an apple brandy from France, is the perfect light enhancement. With additional sweetness and tang from fresh grated apples (use your favorite kind), this is one hors d’oeuvre that requires all your oyster-shucking skills.
Recipe: Crispy Prosciutto Bites
Placing your starter of choice on a meaty shard of oven-crisped prosciutto will delight everyone from glutard to bodybuilder (and irritate every vegetarian and vegan to boot). Using dense, ashy smoked mozzarella rather than its fresh counterpart ensures a nice, crispy chip. And using our fool-proof homemade pesto recipe and how-to guide on roasting perfect red peppers ensures that you know how to make pesto and roast red peppers.