By Tracey Black

Tapas-style hors d’oeuvres and casual platters are hands down, my favourite way to entertain and spend time with friends.  My experience as a caterer also tells me this style of entertaining almost guarantees a relaxed and lively vibe at a party and is perfect for casual early fall soirées.

I like to serve an array of tasty bites as part of a lengthier cocktail hour before a BBQ or as a tapas style dinner. The pressure is off, the food is make ahead, eye appealing and more time is spent enjoying your guests, and of course your fab food!  Throw in a terrace, several bottles of great wine and enjoy summer entertaining at its best.

The menu possibilities are endless and there are countless delicious appetizers to choose from in Spanish, Italian, French, South American and of course regional Canadian cuisine.  An hors d’oeuvre that is loved by our clients and has been on our menu for years in Marinated Chevre on Croustade with Roasted Tomato and Grilled Artichoke.

With little preparation or cooking, this gorgeous bite will become a staple in your repertoire and a base for creating alternative versions.  Enjoy with a refreshing rosé such as Kim Crawford 2010 Pansy.

Marinated Chevre on Croustade w/ Roasted Tomato & Grilled Artichoke

Makes 3 dozen

Croustade:  Slice 1 baguette as thin as possible – about ¼ inch.  Brush lightly with olive oil and bake until hard but not browned. 5-10 minutes.

Chevre:  Mix 200g Chevre with 1 TB olive oil or your favourite infused oil. Season with salt

Roasted Tomato:  Slice 18 grape tomatoes in half, toss with, fresh thyme,  olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast in 325F oven for 30-40 minutes until they are tender and wrinkled.

Grilled Artichoke:  Purchase grilled artichokes packed in olive oil at your favourite Italian grocery.  Do not use can artichokes as they are too acidic. Depending upon size of artichoke, cut into 6-8 pieces from top to bottom.

Assembly

Place 5g of chevre off to the side of the croustade. Place the tomato and artichoke slightly coming off of the cheese and onto the croustade. Top with chervil or micro greens just before service.

Alternative Toppings:  olives or tapenade, your favourite pesto, fresh figs, prosciutto, sautéed mushrooms or grilled peppers.

Tracey Black is owner and chef of Epicuria Fine Foods.