A canapé (Spanish/French for couch and known in Italy as tartina) is a small, prepared and usually decorative food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite. Because they are often served during cocktail hours, it is often desired that a canapé be either salty or spicy, in order to encourage guests to drink more. A canapé may also be referred to as finger food, although not all finger foods are canapés. Crackers or small slices of bread or toast or puff pastry, cut into various shapes, serve as the base for savory butters or pastes, often topped with a "canopy" of such savory foods as meat, cheese, fish, caviar, foie gras, purees, etc. Traditionally, canapés are built on stale white bread (though other foods may be used as a base), cut in thin slices and then shaped with a cutter or knife. Shapes might include circles, rings, squares, strips or triangles. These pieces of bread are then prepared by deep frying, sautéeing, or toasting. The foods are sometimes highly processed and decoratively applied (i.e. piped) to the base with a pastry bag. Decorative garnishes are then applied. The canapés are usually served on a canapé tray and eaten from small canapé plates.
How to select
Canapes are best prepared at home with breads as base and meats or vegetables as toppings. A few stores keep ready to bake canapes bases with a sauce. You would just need to add the topping and serve. While buying packaged canapes check the expiry date.
· The technical composition of a canapé consists of a base (i.e. the bread or pancake), a spread, a main item, and a garnish. The spread traditionally is either a compound butter or a flavored cream cheese. Common garnishes can range from finely chopped vegetables, scallions, and herbs to caviar or cheese.
· The sauces and the toppings can be added as per personla preference or recipre requirements.
· Chopped olive and cheese, bacon canapes and smoked salmon canapes are few delicacies.
· Glazed honey & black pepper chicken wings ; Malaysian-style beef/chicken satay with bang bang sauce; Crispy crab fritters with chilli & mint; Sticky pork with sesame & sweet fish sauce; Barbecued sweet potato puffs are few popular toppings for canapés.
· In a cocktail party, you should offer 3-5 canapes options to each guest and allow the same number of canapés per person.
How to store
Canapes are best when prepared fresh and served. They can be frozen in plastic wrappers and prepared just before serving.
· If the topping on the canapé are chosen sensibly, then it can be a healthy snacking option
· Since canapés accompany drinking sessions, they are associated with bingeing tendencies as many of them are so occupied with social banter at drinkies occasions that they will take a rolled-up piece of bacon from the plate held in front of them without bothering to inquire what might be wrapped inside it.