|Place of origin||France|
|Main ingredients||Base: one of crackers, bread, toast or puff pastry|
Topping: savoury butters, spreads, or pastes
A canapé is a type of hors d’œuvre, a small, prepared and often decorative food, consisting of a small piece of bread (sometimes toasted), puff pastry, or a cracker topped with some savoury food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite.
Because they are often served during cocktail hours, it is often desired that a canapé be either salty or spicy, in order to encourage guests to drink more. A canapé may also be referred to as finger food, although not all finger foods are canapés. Crackers or small slices of bread or toast or puff pastry, cut into various shapes, serve as the base for savory butters or pastes, often topped with a savory foods as meat, cheese, fish, caviar, foie gras, purées or relish.
Traditionally, canapés are built on stale bread (although other foods such as puff pastry, crackers, or fresh vegetables may be used as a base) cut in thin slices and then shaped with a cutter or knife into circles, rings, squares, strips or triangles. These are then deep fried, sautéed, or toasted, then topped or piped with highly processed and decoratively applied items. Colorful and eye-pleasing garnishes often complete the presentation. The canapés are usually served on a canapé salver and eaten from small canapé plates.
The technical composition of a canapé consists of a base (e.g., the bread or pancake), a spread, a main item, and a garnish. The spread is traditionally either a compound butter or a flavored cream cheese. Common garnishes can range from finely chopped vegetables, scallions, and herbs to caviar or truffle oil.
The French started offering canapés to their guests in the 18th century, and the English adopted the practice at the end of the following century. One modern version of the canapé is the amuse-bouche, literally a “mouth amuser”, but translated more delicately as “palate pleaser”.
- James Beard, Hors d'Oeuvres and Canapés (William Morrow & Co., New York, 1943, 1963, 1985), p. xiii.
- Olver, Lynne. "The Food Timeline". Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- Media related to Canapés at Wikimedia Commons