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How to Prepare Hors d'Oeuvre

Oct 31, 2007
Most of us like to dine on "fancy vittles," but few have time to prepare them. By taking wise advantage of processed foods now available, and by using a little ingenuity in preparing non-processed foods, such "vittles" are within reach of almost anyone's time budget.

Hors d'oeuvre

The dishes that follow are meant to be eaten at the beginning of a meal, but at the table with knife and fork, thereby differing from canapes, which are eaten before dinner also, but with fingers and toothpicks, along with, one hopes, proper cocktails or a dry sherry.

They can be prepared very quickly indeed. Whether you have a long time or a short one in which to cook your meal, you will find that these recipes will give you a prepossessing as well as a traditional way of starting it.

Antipasto Serves 1

Combining as it does the qualities of hors d'oeuvre and salad, an antipasto serves a most useful purpose. It may be used to start a meal - luncheon, dinner, or supper - it may be followed by soup, but may also replace it, and it should, in my opinion, replace the salad course. Antipasto is, as its name implies, peculiarly suited for inclusion in "Italian" meals which also contain: spaghetti, ravioli, fettucini, or any other farinaceous dish.

There is no set "table of contents," and the items listed below are suggestions only. Any one of them may be eliminated; any number of others may be added. Some of these could be: sliced bologna, button mushrooms marinated in French dressing, artichoke hearts in olive oil, or pickled beets. More than most foods, an antipasto should appeal to the eye as well as to the palate, so a little time spent in making an attractive arrangement will be well worth while. For each serving, the following is suggested:

2 leaves crisp lettuce
1/2 hard-boiled egg sliced lengthwise
3 anchovy fillets
2 sardines
2 thin slices tomato
3 small ripe olives
2 stuffed green olives
2 spring onions
2 small stalks celery
3 thin slices cucumber
1 slice salami
1 thin slice boiled ham
2 wedges lemon

Place the lettuce leaves on a salad plate and arrange the other items on them. Garnish each plate with two lemon wedges. A vinegar cruet and a pepper mill should be on the table.

Artichokes Figaro Serves 6

One of the most beautiful public dining rooms on the East coast is that of the Sheraton-Carlton Hotel in Washington. Dining there can be a very pleasant experience, and one thing which makes it so is a luscious and attractive appetizer called Artichokes Figaro. "Mac" Rossi, the highly competent headwaiter there at the time, graciously gave me the recipe, and I am thus able to include this fine first course.

The recipe calls for Thousand Island dressing, which in turn calls for mayonnaise, ketchup, and chopped hard-boiled egg. You may use one of the commercially prepared Thousand Island dressings, which will probably not have chopped egg in it. If you do, chop a hard-boiled egg, not too fine, and stir it into the mixture described below. Artichokes Figaro are filling, and if they are to precede a full dinner, I would allow only one to a customer, or, if two, omit the salad. Artichoke bottoms may be bought in tins, six to eight to the tin.

6 artichoke bottoms
1/2 pound crab meat
3/4 cup thousand island dressing
1 chopped hard-boiled egg (if needed)
fresh black pepper
6 strips pimiento
6 lettuce leaves

Cook the artichoke bottoms for about ten minutes in boiling, salted water. Cool them. Mix, gently but well, the crab meat, the dressing, the chopped egg, if necessary, and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper. Place a pyramid of this mixture on each artichoke bottom, being careful to cover the full surface of the artichoke. Across the apex of the pyramid lay a strip of pimiento, and garnish with a few capers. Arrange each appetizer on a lettuce leaf and serve cold.

Either of these dishes will be an excellent starter to your meal.
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