Hors d’oeuvres Part One: Brie-Stuffed Apricots, Melon and Prosciutto Bites, Bruschetta Basil Boats

Why do I keep doing multiple recipes at once? It’s like I enjoy making life harder for myself.

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Actually, I think I just get bored with doing only one thing. And it works out in your benefit, right? Today we have lots of deliciousness to discuss. And one other important thing: when I first began coming up with finger food appetizers for this post, I wanted to make sure that they were all edible with a minimum of extra apparatus. There are no toothpicks in this post, or the next one. Nothing in this post requires cooking. Each recipe is bite sized and easy to eat, and can be made a few hours ahead and kept in the fridge until party time. The only thing you need to provide the guests who’ve come to eat your food (the most important part of any party) is a plate and napkin – and if you want to go easy on the environment, cloth napkins and non-paper plates.

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Now, I can appreciate that these apricot and brie apps are not the prettiest thing on this blog. To be honest, I didn’t realise I’d bought the darker kind of apricot. They would definitely look better with the classic apricot colour. However, do not mistake looking better for tasting better. This idea, of open apricot with cheese in the middle, was something I’ve been wondering about for a while, because I’ve always wanted to try stuffing apricots. It paid off well beyond what I was expecting. These are delicious. The flavours match perfectly, and more importantly the textures are just right for each other. It’s just the right amount of contrast and similarity.

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Beyond even flavour and texture, though, what really seals the deal on these is how easy they are to make. Are you ready for this recipe?

Buy a pack of dried apricots. Buy brie, either the supermarket standard or something a little flashier, like Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt Tam. Get home, peel open apricots but don’t separate the halves (they have a slice down the middle where the pit’s been taken out). Slice up brie, insert slices into apricots in artisanal manner (I leave that up to your discretion). Arrange on plate, serve.

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(Psst: and if you have a friend with a gluten allergy, this might be a good option. If your friend is lactose intolerant, maybe exchange the brie for nuts?)

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Moving on to our next option: melon and prosciutto bites. This flavour combination is fairly common in the world of appetizers, I admit. Not much here that’s original.

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There is honey in it, as well. I suppose that counts for something. The honey is there to stick the prosciutto on the melon, which has been cut into abstract shapes that are pleasing to the eye and slightly more difficult to pick up. It might be worth letting your guests know there’s honey involved, although I’d be surprised if someone was okay with eating prosciutto but not honey. (I’m not okay with prosciutto. I think this is the first time I’ve done anything with meat so far. I had to touch it. I’ve just realised that making something I can’t taste means I can’t purple prose how delicious it is. Yuck.)

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My taste-tester did say she appreciated that the prosciutto was in bite-sized pieces, instead of being wrapped around the melon, because prosciutto can be hard to chew (not that I would know.) (The taste tester wasn’t the dog, by the way) (I guess you’d only get that joke if you knew how close the dog was when I made these) (I’ll stop doing this now) (but I might post a pic of her on Instagram)

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The recipe, again, is super simple. All you need is a melon and a pack of prosciutto. Cut the melon, remove the seeds. Chop the melon into bite-sized pieces, then remove the skin – you don’t want the pieces slipping around while you’re wielding a melon-slicing knife. Pull the prosciutto apart into even smaller bites, dab with honey, and place in a pleasing manner on the melon. Arrange on plate, serve.

(Gluten free, again, lactose free, sadly not meat free.)

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And finally we’ve made it to today’s last recipe: Bruschetta Basil Boats. Weird name, I know. I’m really happy with these. They strike all the boxes of things I love. Tomatoes? Check. Garlic? Check. Olive oil? Check. Basil? A little bit.

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Bruschetta is really just bread rubbed with garlic, with olive oil and salt. In a way this recipe isn’t bruschetta at all, because there’s no bread. But it is based on the adaptation of bruschetta that is popular in the States and includes tomatoes. In the pictures, I used mini tomatoes – I’m not sure the variation. It is kind of a pain to cut them, though, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

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I’m not sure where I got the basil idea from, but it works really well. And they do look like little boats. This recipe does require fresh basil leaves, big ones, right off the plant. If you want to be a little more true to the original, you can even rub garlic onto the leaves themselves.

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This recipe is once again super easy. You’ll need fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Cut up the tomatoes small, removing the seeds and pulp (otherwise it’s too wet). Rub the garlic on the leaves, or just cut it up small and add it to the tomatoes. Toss them in olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spoon them into the basil leaves, arrange on plate, and serve.

Part Two will be out on Friday, and there might be a bit of cooking involved. Don’t worry though, because it’ll be worth it. Our dinner party will end with fig chutney and gorgonzola on rosemary crackers, and then it will really end with dessert to die for: caramelized cherries. Stay tuned!

 

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