When a special occasion is on the horizon or you just feel like pushing your culinary boundaries, try your hand at some gourmet French appetizer recipes. Although the challenge may seem daunting, there are many options packed with gourmet level flavors that present beautifully.
Fare with Flair: French Appetizer Recipes
Despite the rumors, the French eat more than escargot, Brie and caviar for appetizers. Their hors d'oeuvre selections are as varied as American starters and include many ingredients and cooking approaches. While cheese and bread are French staples, there are a variety of other delightful treats to be had.
Blue Cheese & Sticky Wine Glaze
Crumble a high quality, creamy blue cheese in a serving bowl. Drizzle a sticky red wine glaze (available at specialty food stores) all over the pieces. Serve the dish with toasted bread triangles and,a cheese knife. Offer a good cabernet to bring out the heady cheese flavors.
- 1 finely chopped medium size onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon pickling spice mixture with red chiles removed
- 4 ounces finely chopped mushrooms
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 slices of rye bread, crusts removed
- 1/4 teaspoon butter
- 1 teaspoon heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vegetable stock
- Lemon juice
- Sauté onion and pickling spice in one tablespoon butter until onion is translucent.
- Add mushrooms, garlic and salt and sauté for two more minutes. Remove from heat.
- Soak rye break in cold water, squeeze out excess water, and crumble it into the pan. Stir and cook for two to three minutes and remove from heat.
- Add remaining butter, cream, stock and a few drops of lemon juice.
- Pound the mixture in a mortar and pestle until fine and press through a strainer to remove residue.
- Tightly pack the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of ten hours with a weight on top of the bowl.
- Serve with lightly toasted whole grain or rye bread.
These little bread and cheese bites take a bit of time to make but the look on guests' faces as the morsels melt in their mouths is well worth the time invested.
- 8 tablespoons (1 quarter pound stick) chilled, unsalted butter
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, sifted
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup freshly grated imported Gruyere cheese
- Lightly butter and flour two baking sheets and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Over high heat, combine the butter, salt and water in a medium size, heavy-duty saucepan, whisking until the mixture reaches a boil.
- Remove from the heat and dump in all the flour. Beat briskly until the dough separates from the side of the pan. Put the pan back on the stove over low heat and continue beating until the dough is dry, about one minute.
- Quickly put the dry dough into a heavy-duty mixer. Attach the flat blade attachment and turn the mixer to moderately high. Gradually beat in the eggs and 1/2 cup of the grated cheese.
- When the dough becomes the consistency of very thick mayonnaise, turn off the mixer. Put the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a two inch tip or use a spoon to place two inch mounds on the cookie sheets, around two inches apart.
- Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake on the center oven rack for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden in color.
- Do not open the oven door during baking as this may cause the puffs to dry out or deflate.
- Makes between 30 and 36 appetizers.
French appetizer recipes are constantly changing as chefs fuse foods from other cuisines into traditional ones. Use your imagination and add your favorite ingredients to your French appetizers to create magnificent hors d'oeuvres worthy of becoming your 'signature' dish.