To paraphrase the great Andy Williams, where do we begin? Canapés may be something specific but there isn’t anything that can’t be a canapé, so where to start?
Imagine yourself at your reception; amidst the grandeur of a mansion, the rustic charm of a barn, or on the croquet lawn next to your marquee on a sunny summer’s afternoon, put a glass of champagne in your hand and imagine what you would like to eat and be served to your guests.
There are then many ways to give your canapés some consistency, make them cool, and make them unique to you. Below are a few ideas to inspire you and help you theme by ingredient – shellfish, country/national style, miniatures of specific menu styles etc:
Take a canapé menu of shellfish and develop the theme by sticking to Great British favourites; Scottish scallops, Devonshire crab, Whitstable oysters with British hedgerow herbs and leaves to contrast and enhance the flavours – borage, parsley, watercress and sage. You won’t have to do anything but serve the canapés for the appreciative crowd to realise there’s more going on than something to keep them going until the wedding breakfast.
Minis of popular menus remain an enduring favourite but don’t stop at a few tiny burgers and hot dogs. Run through the whole diner menu with a range of corn fritters with bbq pulled pork, chilli dogs, baby fried chicken, mini cones of sweet potato fries and some mini malted shakes. Fun and crowd pleasing, just don’t serve too much, you don’t want to spoil the main event!
If that doesn’t take your fancy, pick your favourite national style, perhaps somewhere around the Mediterranean? Spanish, Italian, French and Greek are all renowned for grazing menus that reduce to perfect canapé styles and flavours, and that’s before we get near the middle east and the world of meze. Think about your favourites and then give them a spin: add persimmon to a cherry tomato bruschetta with Prosciutto if you’re going Italian, or crumble a little manchego on top of a steak tostada if you’re feeling Spanish, or some ranchero to spice it up if you’re thinking Mexican.
Still not sure? Frame your menu, literally. Imagine presentations, be it large platters, small squares, or a theme of mini terrines and verrines, porcelain or something more colourful and funky – let sushi inspire you and you’re already most of the way there. The Internet is a wonderful place and inspiration is never far away, take your ideas to your caterer and work together to make something truly yours.