Displaying items by tag: appetizers


My tester Kristen Eppich suggested soup shooters for a smart presentation. Serve your favourite soup recipe in shooter glasses or small mugs. This classic mushroom soup is spiked with Middle Eastern spices.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Ready in: 45 minutes

Serves: 12 shooters



3 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped red onion

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped ginger

8 cups cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup peeled and chopped Yukon Gold potato

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Chives, chopped



Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat until sizzling. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms, potato and remaining 1 tablespoon butter and sauté for 3 minutes or until mushrooms just begin to soften. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix together spices and stir into mushroom mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes to release flavours.

Pour in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until potatoes are softened. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return soup to pot over medium heat. Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes.

Season with lemon juice. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve either hot or chilled in shooter glasses, topped with chopped chives.



A sake martini is a fine theme cocktail for this appetizer (two parts gin or vodka to one part good sake, stirred not shaken). Sparkling wine is versatile and festive – I’d suggest Spanish cava or trendy prosecco from Italy. Grassy Chilean sauvignon blanc is a flexible and affordable white-wine option; for red, try zippy, slightly chilled Beaujolais. Beer-wise, I’d opt for a slightly bitter, refreshing Czech-style pilsner. - Beppi Crosariol

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I ate these at a restaurant in San Francisco and inhaled a whole bowl. They’re easy to make, and the more you have the better. Place the leaves on a platter or in a bowl – these are finger food.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ready in: 20 minutes

Servings 12



500 grams (1 pound) Brussels sprouts

2 tablespoons olive oil

 Salt and freshly ground pepper



Preheat oven to 350 F.

Remove outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts and any inner leaves that are big enough. Reserve remaining whole sprouts for another use. Toss sprout leaves with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place on baking sheet. If they are piled up, you will have to stir them frequently while they are baking. Roast for 6 to 8 minutes or until tinged with brown.



A sake martini is a fine theme cocktail for this appetizer (two parts gin or vodka to one part good sake, stirred not shaken). Sparkling wine is versatile and festive – I’d suggest Spanish cava or trendy prosecco from Italy. Grassy Chilean sauvignon blanc is a flexible and affordable white-wine option; for red, try zippy, slightly chilled Beaujolais. Beer-wise, I’d opt for a slightly bitter, refreshing Czech-style pilsner. - Beppi Crosariol

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The original recipe calls for sierra mackerel, but halibut is more readily available. Chilies and other Mexican ingredients are available at Latin American stores and online. Tomatillos look like green tomatoes with a papery skin that is removed before using. Leave the seeds in the jalapeno for a hotter taste.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ready in: 3 hours



250 grams (8 ounces) boned and skinned halibut or mackerel

1/3 cup lime juice

Sea salt to taste

150 grams (about 5 ounces) tomatillos, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped pitted green olives

1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion

1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 avocados, peeled and cut into small cubes



Cut fish into 1/2-inch pieces and place in bowl. Stir in lime juice and salt and mix well. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Stir in remaining ingredients except for avocado, adjust salt and marinate for about 30 minutes. Spoon into glasses (martini work well) and top with avocado.



You’d be better off with a citrusy, lean white, such as Rias Baixas or dry Sherry, both from Spain. Or try a frosty gin or vodka martini with lemon zest. - Beppi Crosariol

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Smoked trout is easy to find, but quality varies; it pays to buy from a reputable fishmonger. The bright-tasting mayo and the slightly sweet balsamic glaze give an added kick.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Ready in: 30 minutes

Serves: 4



4 fillets smoked trout

1 avocado, peeled

2 ripe pears, peeled

½ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup yogurt

1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Pinch cayenne

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup balsamic vinegar



Remove skin from smoked trout and lay in centre of plate. Slice avocado into 8 slices and lay two beside each trout fillet. Cut pears into 8 slices each and lay 4 slices on other side of trout.

Beat together mayonnaise, yogurt, lemongrass, fish sauce and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper. Streak over fish, pears and avocados.

Place balsamic vinegar in a pot over medium heat. Bring to boil, and boil for 5 to 8 minutes or until reduced by half and thickened slightly. Dot plates with balsamic reduction.



Smoked trout carries more of a fire-pit quality than smoked salmon. That contrasts nicely with boldly fruity Riesling, whether dry or slightly sweet. Lucy’s fruity, tart and fragrant embellishment here also resonates with the wine. - Beppi Crosariol

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This version of an Indian-flavoured soup uses lentils (dhal) to thicken the soup rather than being a main ingredient, letting the cauliflower shine.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ready in: 40 minutes

Serves: 4 - 6



2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

Pinch cayenne

1/3 cup red lentils

6 cups cauliflower florets, about half a head

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 cup yogurt



1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

Oil for frying



Heat oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft but not browned. Add ginger and garlic, cumin, turmeric, coriander seeds and cayenne and sauté 1 minute longer. Add lentils and cauliflower and stir with spices. Season lightly with salt.Add stock to cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils are soft and cauliflower is tender. Spoon out 1 cup of small cauliflower florets and set aside.

Puree soup in a food processor or with a stick blender. If soup is too thick, thin down with extra stock. Return to pot and stir in yogurt. Season well. Rewarm when needed.

Mix together flour, cornstarch, coriander and season with salt. Add enough water (about 1/4 cup) to make a batter the thickness of whipping cream. Stir in cooked cauliflower florets.

Heat 1-inch oil in a small skillet over high heat until very hot. Spoon 2 tablespoon cauliflower mixture into hot oil, forming a fritter. Repeat with remaining mixture. Fry until batter is crisp and golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve on top of soup.



My preference is gewurztraminer, preferably a rich example from Alsace. It’s strongly musky, with floral and ginger nuances layered on abundant, lychee-like fruit, just the profile to power through the aromatics here. If you prefer something tamer, try a buttery Californian or Australian chardonnay. - Beppi Crosariol

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Sang Kim – the brains behind a popular sushi-making class, catering company, and some of the Toronto’s iconic Japanese and Korean restaurants like Ki – created this delectable “Tosa-style” (bonito-infused soy sauce) garlic salmon sashimi. Although garlic was not traditionally a staple of the Japanese diet, it was in the former province of Tosa that its farming residents discovered their love for the plant. A spoon makes an ideal serving vessel.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ready in: 12 hours, including marinating time

Serves: 8



3 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons bonito flakes

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

500 grams (1 pound) salmon fillet, skinned

½ cup finely chopped Spanish onion



Combine mirin, vinegar, soy sauce, and bonito flakes in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat. Cool.

Pour sauce through a strainer into a bowl; discard bonito flakes. Add lime juice and garlic.

Slice pieces of salmon along the grain, ½-inch thick and 1 inch long. Marinate in fridge for up to 12 hours.

Serve salmon scattered with onion.

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(Babi&Co's fritters topped with their garlic chili sauce in image)

Festival favourite Babi&Co. doesn’t have a permanent home yet, so this catering company re-creates traditional Indonesian street foods using fresh and local ingredients at pop-up events. Their addictive Perkedel Jagung corn fritters are packed with garlicky flavour.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ready in: 30 minutes

Makes: 16 pieces



2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from cobs (about 1 cup)

2 eggs

½ cup chopped green onion

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup rice flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon curry powder

2 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

Salt and pepper to taste



Whisk corn, eggs, green onion, and garlic in a bowl.

Mix flour, rice flour, baking powder, curry powder, salt and pepper in a separate bowl.

Stir wet ingredients into dry. The batter should be thick.

Heat ½ inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot, and then add the batter by tablespoons. Fry until golden, flip and cook the other side, about 2 minutes.  Serve with chutney

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This hearty soup features pancetta, potatoes and, of course, our featured vegetable, corn.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 45 minutes
Serves: 6




2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup diced pancetta

1 cup chopped onion

2 cups red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 cups fennel, diced in 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3 cups fresh corn kernels (2 to 3 cobs)

2 pounds (1 kilogram) clams



2 tablespoons lime juice

Lots of freshly ground pepper

6 fried rounds of pancetta

Coriander leaves



Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot for the chowder. Add diced pancetta and sauté for 3 minutes or until slightly crispy. Add onions, potatoes, fennel and garlic, reduce heat and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add stock and bring to boil. Simmer until potatoes are cooked, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add corn kernels and stir together. Add clams. Cover and boil about 3 to 5 minutes or until clams open. Remove clams, cool and shell half the clams. Return all the clams to soup. Salt if needed.; Reheat soup until clams are hot.

Stir in lime juice and coriander for the garnish. Season. Grind extra pepper on each serving. Garnish with crisp pancetta round and whole leaves of coriander.



A chunky soup likes a chunky wine. The buttery essence of a full-bodied chardonnay bastes the corn while the toasty oak rides with the earthy, crispy-pancetta undercurrent. A glass of creamy stout, such as Guinness, would work nicely, too. - Beppi Crosariol

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This is a deconstructed version of the popular appetizer in France. It has the same elements – radishes, butter and salt – but served like a bruschetta.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes
Serves: 4




1 baguette

1/4 cup olive oil

Anchovy butter

1 cup thinly sliced radishes for garnish

Anchovy butter:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

8 anchovies, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons chopped parsley



Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Cut baguette into 16 1/4-inch slices on the diagonal. Use 2 tablespoons olive oil to brush both sides of the slices.

Bake bread for 5 minutes, until golden. Remove to rack and brush with remaining oil.

Beat together butter, anchovies, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Beat in parsley. Spread baguette slices with anchovy butter and top with radishes.

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The slightly licorice flavour of fennel is heightened by the licorice overtones in the tarragon. If you can’t find the ricotta, substitute pecorino or even feta.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 15 minutes
Serves: Four



3 bulbs baby fennel or 1 large

6 cups baby spinach

6 ounces (175 grams) ricotta salata

Shallot vinaigrette:

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons chopped tarragon

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Cut core from fennel and remove top. Cut in half. With a mandolin, or by hand, thinly slice fennel.

Place in bowl and mix with spinach.

Shave ricotta with a vegetable peeler and toss with vegetables.

Whisk together mustard, tarragon, shallots and vinegar. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.

Toss with salad and finish by sprinkling with parsley.

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