The start of summer is upon us and hopefully we will be able to enjoy a little al fresco dining with friends and family. If you’re anything like me then, while I like the idea of doing some different canapes and nibbles to wow my guests, I am often intimidated by the process. Fear not Annabel Carter has put together some of her clients favourite canapes which are (she promises) surprisingly easy to do.
Prosciutto wrapped quails eggs with truffle oil and parmesan shavings
Really delicious prosciutto (if you can, get freshly sliced to the pre-packed supermarket variety otherwise pre-packed is fine)
Salt and pepper
Fill a pan with water and get it to a rolling boil. Boil the quails’ eggs for 2 minutes 40 seconds (or slightly longer if they are quite big) making sure you don’t put more than 12 eggs in the pan at once. Remove the eggs and plunge into cold water. Peel them in the water straight away and lay them out to dry on kitchen paper.
When fully dry, simply wrap some prosciutto around them and skewer them on a cocktail stick. These can be stored for up to a day in the fridge. Before serving, get them to room temperature and shave some parmesan over then. Drizzle some truffle oil over and serve with black pepper.
Beetroot and Gorgonzola arancini
2 white onions, peeled and finely chopped
50g risotto rice
175ml dry Italian white wine
2l hot vegetable stock
100g parmesan, finely grated
1 grated beetroot
1 bunch chives
2 tbsp plain flour
1 beaten egg
1l vegetable oil, for frying
Heat a large pan over a low heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the chopped onions and sweat for 15 minutes or until soft but not coloured. Turn the heat up to medium and pour in the risotto rice, stirring for a few minutes, to ensure every grain is coated.
Pour in the wine and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Start ladling in the stock bit by bit, stirring it through the rice and allowing each ladleful to become absorbed before adding the next. Add the grated beetroot now. Continue until the rice is cooked through, this takes about 15–20 minutes.
Stir in the grated parmesan, gorgonzola and chives and plenty of salt and pepper and then leave to cool completely.
To form the arancini, scoop portions of the cooled risotto into your hand and roll into bite size balls.
Put the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in separate shallow bowls. Carefully dip each ball in the flour, shaking off any excess, then the egg, and finally the crumbs, ensuring the rice is completely coated. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
Pour the sunflower oil into a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over a high heat. To test the oil is ready, drop in a few breadcrumbs – if they sizzle and float, it is ready.
Carefully lower in the arancini with a slotted spoon, in batches of four, and deep-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Transfer to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain.
Serve the arancini with a little more parmesan shaved over the top or with a dip. I like to make a herby one with parsley, dill, and chives, and a spoonful of crème fraîche.
Tuna tartare with avocado puree
200g fresh sushi grade tuna steak
1 ripe avocado
1 whole lime
1 bunch coriander
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp wasabi (to taste)
1 tsp sesame oil
Sesame seeds to decorate
Cut the tuna into small cubes (0.5cm) and keep in the fridge. Make the dressing up with the soy sauce, wasabi, sesame, lime juice and rice vinegar and set it aside. Then purée the avocado, adding the juice of a whole lime, some salt, and a little dash more sesame oil to taste. Store this in a bowl with some cling film pressed right down on top of it so that no air gets to it to turn the avocado brown.
Just before serving add the dressing to the tuna, stir to coat and add some chopped coriander. Taste it and add more salt or soy. Serve on spoons or in little crisp cups, the tuna on top of the avocado, with a few sesame seeds to decorate. It is a mouthful of heaven, so light but full of flavour.