Finger Foods

When we think finger food, we think sliders, nachos and pigs-in-a-blanket. Finger foods are great for parties, since utensils aren't necessary, and since they're usually small portions, you can try a little but of everything. One of our favorite finger foods is arancini, rice balls stuffed with mozzarella and peas. Fry them until they're golden and crisp all over, and sprinkle with a little salt before serving. For an upgrade of a classic finger food, this version of pigs-in-a-blanket uses spicy Andouille sausage instead of hot dogs and is served with sweet mustard chutney. Whether you're looking for an appetizer for a crowd or a kid-friendly snack, F&W's guide to finger foods has recipes for every occasion.

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Pretzel-and-Mustard Dumplings
Dumplings made of day-old pretzels and bound with egg are common in Germany; they're a delicious way to use up stale bread and are great to serve alongside Roasted Goose Legs, soaking up gravy on the plate. Food & Wine editor Melanie Hansche's version, an homage to the flavors of her hometown of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, uses pretzel rolls, which she leaves out on the kitchen counter, uncovered, overnight. If you can't source pretzel rolls, any plain bread rolls will do. You can make the dumplings the day before and refrigerate overnight before simmering them to serve. It's not traditional to make them with mustard, but Hansche likes to add some to hers: "It's a such a lovely bedfellow with pretzels!" she says. These dumplings can be made 1 day ahead; just cover and chill until you are ready to cook them.
Lumpiang Sariwa (Fresh Filipino Spring Rolls)
Rating: Unrated 1
For his lumpiang sariwa recipe, 2021 F&W Best New Chef Carlo Lamagna of Portland, Oregon, skips the deep fryer and instead makes these tender spring rolls by wrapping delicate homemade coconut crêpes around lettuce leaves filled with fresh vegetables. Topped with a sauce of soy sauce simmered with brown sugar and star anise and sprinkled with crunchy chopped peanuts, these lumpiang sariwa make a nice appetizer or light meal.
Pork Bakso Dumplings
An aromatic blend of ground coriander, ginger, and lemongrass pairs with umami-rich fish sauce to season these delicate pork dumplings. "The first thing I think about when I dream of my visits to Indonesia are kaki lima, the multicolored carts selling noodles, snacks, and very often bakso (Indonesian meatballs)," says chef Tom Pisha-Duffly of Gado Gado in Portland, Oregon, one of Food & Wine's Best New Restaurants in 2020. "The loud signs painted on the glass of the cart barely obscure the piles of bouncy meatballs and delicately piled bunches of noodles waiting to be drowned in steaming, aromatic soup. This dish incorporates that feeling in a smaller package, using a wonton skin to mimic the noodle but still paying homage to the springy, funky meatball and its slippery, rich broth."
Mushroom Dumplings in Toasted Ginger and Garlic Broth
Rating: Unrated 1
Make-ahead mushroom duxelles makes a rich filling for these tender, satisfying dumplings. The broth, infused with toasted ginger and garlic, gets an extra layer of rich mushroom flavor from dried white flower shiitake mushrooms, which have a bolder flavor than regular dried shiitakes, which are a fine substitute.
Lunar New Year Dumplings
Rating: Unrated 5
Plump and tender dumplings symbolize longevity and wealth. As part of her Lunar New Year spread, Lucky Chow producer Danielle Chang fills hers with a fragrant and flavorful blend of garlic, ginger, scallions, and Chinese chives bound with tender ground pork. Store-bought wonton wrappers may be substituted for freshly made dough. Gently steaming the dumplings in bamboo baskets lined with cabbage leaves helps them keep their pleated shape without tearing and renders the filling juicy and the wrappers supple. For an extra dash of color and heat, drizzle them with with hot chile oil and sprinkle them with with pungent Chinese chives before serving them with dipping sauce.
Southern Sampler with Chicken Liver Mousse
When I tucked into the Southern Sampler at the Rice House Restaurant in northwest Georgia, I swear could taste chef Evan Babb’s whole life story right there on one plate. The way the tart muscadine jam played off the velvety chicken liver mousse, the perfectly crumbly Peaceburg cheddar pimiento cheese, and those deviled eggs crowned with little salty pops of local Siberian sturgeon caviar! I couldn’t help but wonder what inspired these perfect little bites. Fortunately, the chef was very happy to indulge my curiosity.“My mama is the only person I’ve ever known who eats fried chicken livers and eggs for breakfast,” Babb explained, tracing the legacy of his Southern Sampler to his childhood growing up in nearby Armuchee, Georgia. He mines those memories then refines them through a gourmet lens to inspire the dishes he crafts as the chef for the Barnsley Resort, just miles from his hometown. A generous teacher, Babb was eager to share the secrets that make all of the components of his Southern Sampler sing. The mousse is probably dearest to his heart. Chicken livers begin their transformation with an overnight bath in Tabasco and buttermilk, an auspicious beginning if there ever was one. Babb uses butter three ways in his mousse: he fries the livers in clarified butter, then processes them with cold unsalted butter to impart a fluffier texture before finally capping the finished mousse with a layer of nutty browned butter to provide a perfect counterbalance to the flavors of brandy and lemon. In one bite, it’s both nostalgically down-home and ultra-luxe.When it comes to the deviled eggs, Babb's are traditional with a twist. He folds in a little Dijon mustard and a bit of the juice from a jar of pimiento-stuffed olives. But he likes have fun with an eggs-on-eggs here riff here, topping each with a spoonful of caviar he sources from nearby University of Georgia in Athens, where they’ve pioneered the aquaculture of the Siberian sturgeon. “This is the most local caviar I can get—not too salty, and real buttery; it brings a nice umami-ness to the deviled eggs.”While there’s certainly no wrong way to enjoy the Southern Sampler, Babb showed me his preferred take: slather a slice of toasted baguette with that luscious mousse and then top with a dollop of muscadine jam that he makes from fruit gathered on property. The flavors check every box—bright, smooth, crunchy, and most of all, delicious. In between mouthfuls, I asked him what his mother thinks of his take on her breakfast standard. He got quiet and then a little wistful, telling me that she cried after tasting his food and that he had surpassed her talents in the kitchen. “You know, you can have all kinds of achievements and win all kinds of awards,” Babb said, “but when you hear your mama say something like that? Wow.”—Christiana Roussel
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More Finger Foods

Original Egg Rolls
Instead of using standard egg roll wrappers, Wu bundles the filling in egg “crêpes,” then dips them in batter before frying. Slideshow: More Takeout Recipes 
Hot Dog Nachos
Rating: Unrated 1
These next level hot dog nachos from Food & Wine’s Paige McCurdy-Flynn are drizzled with sharp cheddar beer cheese that takes less than 2 minutes to cook in the microwave. Slideshow: More Nacho Recipes 

Weekend Nachos

Georgia restaurateur and Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson believes that the weekend is for letting creativity dictate nachos. “Start by making some beer-braised beef short ribs,” Acheson says. “And fancy that, you made too many! With the leftovers, you will make nachos. In this idealized experience, you will frolic in the woods, foraging for ramps. You are dressed like a gnome, but nobody cares. You get back to the kitchen and have some pressure-cooked pintos all ready to go. Let’s build some nachos: Take the beef plus pintos plus jack cheese, pickled peppers, those ramps all charred and tasty and assemble it all over tasty white corn tortilla chips, which maybe you made yourself. That gets baked until crisp and gooey and melty, and then you get all Jackson Pollock when the crema comes out. You eat and drink a beer, all the while wearing that gnome uniform with pride.”Slideshow: Outrageous NachosReprinted from ¡Buenos Nachos! by Gina Hamadey. Copyright © 2016 by W&P Design. Published by Dovetail (www.dovetail.press)