The canapé was one of the most popular variety of appetizers in the 1950s. If you look at a mid-century Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, for example, you will find all types of canapés, which they define as “small pieces of toasted or grilled bread topped with seasoned spreads and smartly garnished.” That sounds pretty good, right? If you read further, however, you may think otherwise. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions from the 1953 edition:
- Spread lettuce leaves with smoked liver sausage that is mashed with sweet pickle relish and a few chopped olives. Roll the leaves and serve on bread rounds or crackers. Fasten with a toothpick.
- Combine 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard with 1/4 cup butter. Spread on top of toast and top with a whole sardine and stuffed olive slices.
- Sardine butter: mix 1 teaspoon mashed sardine, a few drops of grated onion, and lemon juice with 3 tablespoons butter.
Although the traditional canapé was made with bread or toast, even Better Homes and Gardens gives you permission to think outside the bread box. They also suggest canapé wafers, cream puffs, biscuits, puffed pastry shells, crackers, or even potato chips.
In the spirit of the mid-century canapé, I decided to put my own spin on things and give them a contemporary twist. Keeping traditional favorites like olives, pickles and preserves in the mix, my main goal to think outside the typical bread base and make them low-FODMAP, which also means they are gluten-free. I’ve been exploring the low-FODMAP diet recently with some success and thought others in the same boat might appreciate some tasty appetizer ideas. Even if you don’t have any dietary restrictions, these canapés are real crowd pleasers.
Up first in my trio of canapés is grilled zucchini with olive tapenade and cherry tomatoes. This canapé has a bit of a Greek salad feel. It’s light and fresh, and screams summer. The tapenade is a snap to make. This recipe makes quite a bit, so you can use the leftovers as a yummy addition to sandwiches or as a dip for all kinds of veggies.
- 12 oz bottle of pitted Kalamata olives, drained (about 1½ cups of olives)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped.
- Cut zucchini in rounds that are about ¼" in thickness.
- Grill zucchini for a few minutes each side, until they begin to soften slightly and get nice grill marks. This can be done in advance and chilled until assembling if desired.
- For the tapenade- In a food processor, mix the drained olives, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and capers. Pulse until the desired consistency. I like it with some texture.
- Spread zucchini rounds with tapenade mixture.
- Top with chopped cherry tomatoes and chopped basil.
Cheers to summer! More sweet and savory canapés coming soon!