Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fridge-Door Canapés

One of my all-time favorite things to eat for dinner is a nibble-and-pick platter. It feels like you’re sitting down to fancy canapés, but really, it’s a just an excuse to work your way through the last, lingering condiments in the back of the fridge.

Right now, with company looming on the horizon, I’m all about the nibble-and-pick. In fact, I’ve become so attached to this way of eating, I may just snack-platter my way into the New Year, and frankly, I think everyone who comes over will be very glad to see the open-faced sandwich revived, in much the same way that I’ve been so gleeful about seeing deviled eggs on every trendy menu around Philly. (I just had a deviled egg today at Village Whiskey, and it was tasty, although not as feisty as the deviled egg I had last week at The Swift Half. I have yet to try the deviled egg of the day at Supper.)

Hmmm…maybe I will work up a cheese-laced diva-ed egg for Christmas this year…what do you think? Blue cheese and bacon?

Okay, okay, I see you rummaging in the fridge, working up a nibble-and-pick from the floating world inside the door. Here are a few suggestions. If you want to make the open-face platter company-worthy, consider a few sound investments:

1 jar of really good grainy mustard

some exceptional salami

a jar of tapenade

2 cheeses (one mild, one strong as hell)

a jar of chutney or fig jam

cornichons (wee pickles)

crusty baguette

If you are going to skimp, skimp on the stuff in jars. Don’t buy gloomy processed cheese or subpar salami. Trust me. Buy small amounts, but spring for a really good stilton or a really nice Parm. Then go Acme on the jam. Trader Joe’s is a great source of inexpensive pickly things.

Here are some yummy combinations for open-faced canapés:

Parmesan, minced sundried tomatoes in oil, a spiced pecan

Stilton and fig jam (or plum jam or chutney)

Aged cheddar, grainy mustard, and pickled red onions (or caramelized onions)

Fresh goat cheese, tapenade or roasted red peppers, and capers

Grainy mustard, salami, sliced cornichons

Butter, parsley, fresh anchovies

To recommend: Di Bruno Brothers' Fra Mani Toscano Salami is my fave cured meat of the season -- made with red wine, sea salt, coarse ground pepper. It's so good, I almost want to start a salami blog, but of course I won't...cheese, cheese, all the way, and Cheesemas is just around the corner.

P.S. We still have a few slots for our tasting this Saturday afternoon, Dec. 19 at Quince Fine Foods (209 W. Girard). If you want to reserve a spot, call 215-2323425 or email quince@quincefinefoods.com. Put on a big sweater, and come eat some cheese.


  1. The Blue Cheese Brit, Nina and moi loved this kind of meal - I'm into quince paste and particularly ammonia-tasting triple cream brie at the moment. Have a wonderful tasting on Saturday!

  2. I think this pairs nicely with my post for this week. Colicchio alas, has little to say on the subject of open face sandwiches and nothing at all about canapes. So you've given me all sorts of ideas about what to do with those leftover condiments.

  3. This kind of meal is very special for me and such a joy. We traditionally do a big spread of cheeses, summer sausages, jams, mustards, and pickles for our Christmas Eve dinner. But on any weeknight, a small spread can be just as fun.

  4. This looks like such a fancy spread! I do love that everything here is fridge door friendly.

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