There’s nothing more fun than a holiday cocktail party. The atmosphere is festive— standing in a roomful of friends, favorite drink in hand, sampling those little bite-size creations called hors d’oeuvres. I love tasting a variety of different foods in small bites, like Chinese dim sum or Japanese sushi. Hors d’oeuvres are the closest Western food equivalent, and they’re fun to make, too, not requiring as much technical kitchen knowledge as other dishes. After all, a canapé can be as simple as brie on a cracker with a dollop of blackberry jam.
At the Inn at Easton, where we must regularly provide hors d’oeuvres for functions, we find it’s easier to create these unusual combinations than to retool our main menu— the effort keeps us on our toes. Some canapés can be really complicated, but my rule of thumb for simple, well-defined flavors and textures also applies to these appetizers. From the easy but stylish oyster stew shooters to the decadence of eggs and caviar to the more complicated crab and curried couscous spring rolls, these appetizers will give your next cocktail party that extra little zing.