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Coming up with hors d’oeuvres that are simple to make and sumptuous to eat is always a bit of a challenge. When I’m entertaining casually at home, it’s easy. I serve dips and spreads, or I gather my friends in the kitchen to put together more elaborate constructions that require last-minute attention.

For more formal affairs, I prefer hors d’oeuvres that can mostly be made ahead and then reheated or chilled before serving. I may well look to fancier ingredients or more complex flavors, but a simplicity of approach still prevails. These four recipes would be a perfect prelude to any elegant meal. Each one offers exactly what an hors d’oeuvre should—a host of flavors and textures in a single bite.

Published November 1996
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