Spring is here, it’s time to Canapé.
Who doesn’t love a good canapé – I could live on them and I think it’s such a great way to eat whether it’s for a cocktail party or dinner at home. Life’s too short to not be creative with food. However I’ve become far more health conscious these days, so I am always on the hunt for new ways to serve up fun food for friends.
“As I’ve said before in other articles and on my Instagram, food is often great for the lips but not necessarily the hips – these days before anything passes my lips, I do try and think of my hips. A rhyme perhaps, but as I enter my early 40’s trust me, the daily indulgences of cheese, bread, pasta and wine has become a luxury. Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention on giving up any my favourite foods, but I have learnt that moderation is compulsory, especially as I enter my mid-life crisis phase ;-). Can anyone relate?”
I’m sharing this recipe after quite a few requests via my Facebook food page. Our neighbour from France, Elisabeth arrived in Sydney last week and I needed some very light canapés to serve around the pool. I also had very limited time due to work and other commitments, I needed three canapés that I could pull together will little fuss, that were easily transportable down to the pool. They also of course needed to be tasty and suitable for the spring weather.
The canapés I decided to create were:
- Chicken and coconut canapés on cucumber rounds
- Beef and sweet potato meatballs with a tomato, chilli and caper sauce
- Mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto skewers.
All of these are super easy to make and effectively all you need is three glass bowls to combine ingredients before preparing each set of canapés. The tomato, chilli and caper sauce is also very simple. Again, putting my healthy hat on, this is pretty much 750 grams of fresh ripe tomatoes, two teaspoons of chopped chillies, 1/4 cup of capers, salt, pepper and a couple of lashings of white wine vinegar. With all the ingredients combined in a saucepan, it simmers away effortlessly and after a few stirs and 20 minutes later, it’s ready to go.
“Why anyone would buy canned tomatoes or pre-made sauces that are full of preservatives is beyond me. Fresh sauces are easy to make and great for you. If you can make it yourself, your body will thank you for it”
The recipe I have been asked to share is Chicken and Coconut Canapés on cucumber rounds. I love using chicken breast mince for a couple of reasons. Firstly it’s lean and secondly, its texture delivers a soft and velvety sense of arrival in your mouth. The canapé itself is bitesize, and the flattened chicken meatball perches proudly on a basil leaf and the cucumber round. You can also lightly marinate the cucumber rounds in the dressing for some extra flavour. If you do, ensure you shake off the excess marinade before plating up, and consider slicing the cucumbers a little thicker than you would usually. You still want your guests to be able to easily pick up the canapés, and you also still want a nice bit of crunch.
Chicken and Coconut Canapés on Cucumber
What you’ll need:
500g minced chicken breast (some good butchers will actually chop this finely by hand for you, far better than machine made mince)
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1 cup shredded coconut
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
3/4 cup hazelnut meal
Salt and pepper to taste (go light on the salt)
Coconut oil for cooking
2-3 Lebanese cucumbers sliced into circles
Toothpicks to serve
Basil leaves (thai basil if available)
Optional – lightly toast some uncooked jasmine rice in a dry pan, allow to cool and ground it to almost a powder in a blender. It adds a nice crunch when sprinkled on the top once you have plated the dish.
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon palm sugar
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
two tablespoons of finely chopped spring onions
two tablespoons of finely chopped coriander stalks.
Combine all the ingredients well and set aside.
- In a glass bowl, combine the chicken, coriander, coconut, egg, fish sauce, hazelnut meal, salt and pepper. Mix together well
- Prepare the chicken by creating small bitesized portions that will sit nicely on your cucumber rounds
- In batches and over a medium heat with coconut oil, cook the meatballs, flattening each one ever so slightly as you add it to your non-stick pain. Drain on absorbent paper before transferring to an oven tray
- Bake on 170 degrees for 10 minutes or until cooked through. These won’t take long at all to cook, however you want to ensure that are white all the way through
- While this is happening – plate up your cucumber rounds and add a basil leaf on each one
- Allow the chicken to cool down before placing one piece on each cucumber round. Drizzle a small amount of the marinade on each meatball and to help with handling, pierce a toothpick into to each canapé.
I would love to hear from you – please leave a comment below with any questions you may have and I’ll get back to you very soon.
As always, Bon Appétit, Mike X