Tasty pint-sized dishes, from mini burgers and crispy onion rings to Moroccan-date bonbons.
Food & Wine
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Mini Panamanian Beef Empanadas
At Panamonte Inn & Spa, chef Charlie Collins teaches students how to make perfectly flaky empanada dough. For fillings, he uses local ingredients like beef jerk (dried, preseasoned meat) and culantro (a long-leafed herb with a pungent flavor); ground beef and cilantro are fine substitutes. For a flakier empanada, use leaf lard instead of butter.
These mini burgers are extra juicy because they’re made with a mixture of meats, including ground chuck and short rib. The accompanying onion rings are unbelievably crispy, thanks to the club soda in the batter.
Grace Parisi breaks up whole, cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor with hazelnuts and butter to create a supercrunchy crust for these delectable little cheesecakes. The cream filling in the cookies both sweetens the crust and prevents it from becoming too crumbly.
Kate Zuckerman, pastry chef at Manhattan's Chanterelle and author of the new book, The Sweet Life, thinks most cheesecakes are too heavy and sweet. Her recipe uses goat cheese to lighten the texture and tangy crème fraîche to cut the sweetness. Here, she tops mini cheescakes with wine gelées—a new kind of wine-and-cheese-pairing.
At Mas Rabell, the private restaurant where the Torres family entertains, chef Sergi Millet cooks homey, regional food like romesco sauce, a slightly smoky puree of roasted red peppers, garlic and almonds. The versatile sauce is often served with fish or vegetables, but here Millet spreads it on rounds of soft homemade flat bread and tops it with sautéed shrimp.
Bagel Chips with Ricotta, Chive Puree and Prosciutto
Using bagel chips as the base for an hors d'oeuvre is a quick way to add flavor and crunch. Grace Parisi tops the chips with fresh ricotta, chive puree and prosciutto. As an alternative, she sometimes uses dried apricot halves in place of the chips.
Elizabeth Falkner loves eating these energy-boosting, cardamom-spiced date bites made with almonds, walnuts and pistachios. "Eat two of these as a snack or with some juice for breakfast, and you're satisfied," she says.
Chef-owner Ginevra Iverson of Restaurant Eloise in Sonoma County, California, serves her light, crisp, sugared doughnut holes with sweet-tart raspberry jam. She won't send any imperfect doughnut holes into the dining room; misshapen ones, she says, become snacks for the kitchen crew: "They get slathered with jam and devoured by whomever gets to them first."
Jim German and his wife, Claire Johnston, make wonderfully simple snacks to accompany his cocktails. A favorite at their restaurant, Jimgermanbar, is this smoky Spanish sausage with garlic, cooked gently in red wine until it's plump and juicy.