If you’re looking for some quick and easy ideas for party appetizers (or hors d’oeuvres), here are 10 ideas that are just that. All are small bites and can be easily grabbed for a cocktail party. No plates required! Most require little or no time in the oven and can also be made ahead, to be brought out when guests arrive.
1. Halve cherry tomatoes, sandwich around small bocconcini balls then thread onto short skewers. Set out a small bowl of balsamic vinegar mixed with extra-virgin olive oil for dipping.
2. Top toasted baguette slices with a slice of Brie cheese and either a slice of strawberry, a slice of fresh fig or a dab of mango chutney. Top with a toasted pecan half.
3. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around peeled and deveined shrimp that has been drizzled with a little lemon juice. Secure with toothpick. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 6 hours.) Arrange on large rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning once, until shrimp is pink and prosciutto is browned and crisped, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Wrap scallops in a half piece of pancetta. Using 2 skewers for each so scallops don’t spin, thread 4 wrapped scallops onto skewers. Brush with oil. Grill scallops or broil 6-inches (15 cm) from heat, turning once, until just opaque in thickest part, 6 to 8 minutes.
5. Spread Goat Cheese on crostini (baguette sliced, brushed with olive oil and broiled on both sides until golden) and top with any of the following: caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, red-pepper jelly, roasted red pepper. Serve cold or put under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the Goat Cheese.
6. Wrap a thin slice of prosciutto or smoked ham around a piece of cantaloupe or honeydew melon. Secure with a toothpick.
7. Make canapes by cutting circles of bread (try different kinds of bread). Spread with mayonnaise, mustard, or cream cheese. Add thin slices of cucumber, ham, or smoked salmon, and top with a sprig of dill, pimento, or a bit of fresh parsley.
8. Halve cherry tomatoes and remove pulp. Fill with whipped cream cheese that’s been blended with fresh, chopped basil.
9. Cut a cucumber crosswise into 12 slices. Use a melon baller to scoop out indentation in centre of each cucumber round. Fill evenly with cream cheese. Top with a piece of smoked salmon and a sprig of dill.
10. In a small bowl mix toasted walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese, arugula and olive oil. Spread evenly on buttered slices of baguette, pressing to adhere. Season with pepper. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.