I don’t have the answer to these questions, but I do know that I love finger food, eating it and serving it. My style is not to create beautiful art like masterpieces of canapés (although I don’t mind eating them). I’d much rather fill my tray with things that are - in addition to tasting delicious - easy and fast to make and rustic yet inviting in their appearance. No need to make it too fancy, so here are my tips for great tasting and crowd-pleasing finger food.
Select your bottoms
Pick 4-5 different bottoms or bases. Crackers, chips, bread, nachos, or even some veggies will do. Look for different sizes, shapes and textures. Bread is always easy to shape; cut them into little circles, triangles or squares. I like to have at least wheat bread and darker rye bread and to include both soft and crunchy varieties.
Mix and Match
Don’t be afraid to experiment. I often go to a store without having decided what I’m actually going to make. I know that if I buy basic ingredients like mayo, sour cream, flavoured and natural cream cheese and combine those with herbs, veggies, cold meat cuts, cold or warm smoked salmon, shrimps etc. I will be able to whip up a number of different toppings to go with my bottom layers. Also different kinds of beans and pulses are easily turned into flavourful spreads and dips. It is not a bad idea to transfer plain flavoured cream cheese into a serving bowl and place it next to a plateful of crackers and a spreading knife, if you’re short of time. No matter what you are serving, the key is keeping it simple, just a few ingredients in a topping.
Some of my favourites
This Nordic delicacy is always a great appetizer. Mix shrimps with half sour cream half mayo, season with lemon juice and lots of dill and/or chives. Some like to add diced onions, as well. Top with fish roe for special occasions.
Cold smoked salmon and avocado
The combination of salmon and avocado is a personal favourite of mine. Dice both and season with lemon or lime. Some chilli sauce or chilies will boost the flavour and make for a nice contrast to the smooth avocado. Wasabi or horse radish is another option. And do not, I repeat, DO NOT forget the fresh coriander – if you like coriander that is…
Cream cheese and veggies
Cream cheese makes a really nice base for different spreads. The Apetina cream cheeses are soft and spreadable and the selection of flavours gives you many possibilities. For my veggie spread, I like to use Garlic & Herbs. Mix it in a blender with diced paprika, carrot, celery and onion. The spread is so good!
Cold smoked beef
When using cold cut meats, I opt for cold smoked ones for an intensive flavour. You don’t need a lot to make a beautiful spread. I chop the meat slices and mix them with the Apetina Black Pepper Cream Cheese. So simple but the flavour is complex! The Apetina cream cheese selection varies from country to country, but if you can’t find my favourite, getting the plain flavour and mixing in some herbs or spices of your own is always an option.
Chickpeas and white cheese
Drain a tin of cooked chickpeas and mix them in a blender with white cheese. I use Apetina cubes in oil, which are already flavoured. Squirt in some lemon, maybe some herbs and sprinkle sweet paprika on top. And again, if you don’t have flavoured Apetina cubes at your disposal, get the plain ones and add in your own favourite spices.
Serve your finger food on big trays and expect people to block the table, because they simply can’t stay away from your inviting party food.