Special Events
Tiny Appetizers are Small Wonders

Tiny Appetizers are Small Wonders

Small foods are huge these days. After all, bite-size portions are perfect for a social scene; guests can munch as they mingle without the commitment to one large serving — and one-sit-down spot.

If you're in need of hors d'oeuvre inspiration, read on as caterers give us a tiny taste of their most adorable appetizers.

LONG LIVE CAESARS!

COMPANY: Good Gracious! Events, Los Angeles

ADORABLE APP: Chicken Caesar salads with pumpkin seeds in edible soy cones

FLAVORS PROFILED: The traditional chicken Caesar salad gets crunch from pumpkin seeds and a vibrant pop of color from an orange edible soy wrap. In fact, the soy wrap inspired the creation of the Caesar-salad-done-small because chef de cuisine Joanne Purnell “couldn't wait to wrap all flavors of food” in it. In this instance, the catering team decided to shape the wrap into a cone “so the filling could be seen as well as tasted,” she notes. The sizable small bites make for filling, hearty fare and easy tray-passing.

A SPOONFUL OF SALAD

COMPANY: A Legendary Event, Atlanta

ADORABLE APP: Organic spoons — black bean salsa with micro-basil; edible orchid, raspberry and pea shoot salad; caramelized Seckel pear and variegated verbena; pineapple relish with African blue basil; and strawberry fans with pineapple sage

FLAVORS PROFILED: Executive chef Lincoln Stevens found inspiration for these spoon-sized salads, dressed in a sprinkling of lemon juice or truffle oil, in, strangely enough, chocolate-dipped spoons with chocolate mousse rosettes. “My brain somehow fused that technique with the idea of creating these organic spoons,” he notes.

Stevens says the hors d'oeuvre is an example of the “organic decadence” movement, which he describes as “the return to healthy, organic eating with an emphasis on the stewardship of the planet.” But despite the health-food talk, these foods are “still deliciously decadent,” he adds.

OFF THE HALF-SHELL

COMPANY: Greco's Gourmet Catering, Canonsburg, Pa.

ADORABLE APP: Arborio rice-crusted oyster with demi-sec plum tomato, spicy saffron aioli and pickled fennel

FLAVORS PROFILED: Chef/owner Jason Capps says Greco's take on oysters demonstrates a basic trend: “simple presentation with simple flavors and simple ingredients.” Capps and chef Drew Hebson developed the bite-sized bit because they wanted to offer a Mediterranean-influenced item. Capps describes it as having a “crispy and slightly starchy exterior crust”; the sea salt-enhanced fresh oyster also contains sweet, tangy and spicy hints, he says.

EVERYBODY WAS TOFU-BITING

COMPANY: Ridgewells, Bethesda, Md.

ADORABLE APP: Red miso-glazed tofu skewer with avocado and crispy rice pearls

FLAVORS PROFILED: This pop-it-in-your-mouth Asian-influenced treat

combines salty, sweet and spicy elements. The list of ingredients for the marinade and the caramelized glaze includes such exotic fare as kecap manis — or Indonesian sweet soy sauce — and Sriracha chile sauce. For a clever touch, corporate chef David Keener pipes avocado puree on one half of the tofu block, which acts as the adhesive for the crunch-adding rice pearls.

The current popularity of tofu, among both non-vegans and the growing population of vegans, encouraged Keener to create a new hors d'oeuvre with the ingredient. His goal was to develop “a vegan hors d'oeuvre using tofu that would taste good, be pleasant texturally and be well received when described to a client, vegan or non-vegan,” he says.

BOUCHE AMUSED

COMPANY: Abigail Kirsch, Catering Relationships, New York

ADORABLE APP: Watermelon dominoes

FLAVORS PROFILED: These tiny rectangular bites offer big flavor. Executive vice president and partner Alison Awerbuch says tasters experience the combination of “sweet watermelon, pungent Gorgonzola, tart balsamic reduction and spicy peppercress.” According to Awerbuch, watermelon is experiencing a surge in popularity these days and can be seen paired with cheese,cured meats, bitter greens and root vegetables.

The idea for the dominoes came from a salad Abigail Kirsch offers made of watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, fennel, greens and burrata cheese. “The salad is so complex and unique that we wanted to create a bite-size version of it that would burst with flavor when you popped it in your mouth,” Awerbuch says, “which it does.”

RESOURCES

Abigail Kirsch
212/696-4076
www.abigailkirsch.com

A Legendary Event
404/869-8858
www.alegendaryevent.com

Good Gracious! Events
323/954-2277
www.goodgraciousevents.com

Greco's Gourmet Catering
724/745-5575
www.grecosgourmet.com

Ridgewells
301/652-1515
www.ridgewells.com

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