Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cucumber Hummus Canapés

Canapés refer to small finger foods that include a base, spread, main item and garnish. The base is traditionally sliced bread, but can also be a cracker or puff pastry. The bread is often shaped and toasted or sautéed. It is then covered with a butter or cream cheese-based spread and topped with cheese, fish, meat, caviar, vegetables, foie gras, herbs or any other toppings and garnishes.

The term canapé comes from the French word for “sofa” since the base serves as a resting place for the spread, toppings and garnishes. In modern interior design, the term has become synonymous with sofa, though it also refers specifically to a distinctly-shaped 18th century, carved wood and upholstered French settee.

I borrowed and slightly adapted this simple recipe from my friend Tasneem. Cucumber slices make a great summer base for canapés, especially if you are looking to eat fewer carbs or calories. This recipe uses capers and parmesan but there are countless creative options for toppings these cucumber hummus bases including whole olives, olive tapenade, harissa, sundried tomatoes and cubes of feta cheese. You could also top the cucumber with cream cheese and garnish with smoked salmon.

1 cucumber
1 - 2 cups hummus
4 - 6 ounces parmesan cheese, cut into small chunks
capers (optional)

1. Slice the cucumber into 1/4 inch pieces. You can peel the cucumber if you prefer.
2. Top with a dollop of hummus – anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon depending on your taste and the area of the cucumber slice.
3. Garnish with a chunk of parmesan cheese and a few capers. If you would rather use less cheese, grate it and sprinkle it on top.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Goodness, I thought it was crystallised ginger perched on top of the hummus when I first saw the picture, and was preparing to be horrified! Thank heavens it is Parmesan cheese!