30 Summer Hors d'Oeuvres for a Crowd
Grilled Vegetable Bruschetta
What could be more summery than grilled peppers and squash heaped on toasted country bread that's slathered with fresh basil pesto? This versatile recipe works as a first course or even a whole meal.
Grilled Squash Ribbons and Prosciutto with Mint Dressing
Grilling zucchini and summer squash ribbons on skewers is terrific because the edges become wonderfully charred and crisp, while the insides stay tender and juicy.
Parmesan Tuiles with Heirloom Tomato Salad
Chopped red, green and orange tomatoes are tossed with olive oil and herbs, then served on Parmesan tuiles. The result: a supremely colorful, incredibly easy hors d'oeuvre.
In this play on nachos, chef Gonzalo Martinez tops a chunky guacamole with gooey melted cheese.
Zucchini-and-Pepper Gratin with Herbs and Cheese
Switzerland has been making Sbrinz—a hard, aged, cow's-milk cheese—for centuries. Daniel Humm uses the pleasantly salty Sbrinz to top a gratin made with a ratatouille-like mix of sautéed zucchini strips, bell peppers and tomato. Parmigiano-Reggiano, another hard, aged, cow's milk cheese, is a fine substitute.
Scallop Ceviche with Aguachile
Aguachile (chile water) is a vibrant sauce made with fresh chiles, herbs and cucumbers that’s fantastic on any type of fish or shellfish. Chef David Goody serves aguachile with thinly sliced scallops that have been just cured in fresh lime juice.
Roast Beef Summer Rolls
Vietnamese summer rolls are often filled with or shrimp, but Grace Parisi makes hers with roast beef from the deli.
Grilled Tomato Crostini
Make sure to use a bright, fruity olive oil.
Pickled Shrimp with Creamy Spinach Dip
James Holmes grew up in Texas but didn't learn how to make pickled shrimp, a Gulf specialty, until he took a job at a New York City restaurant.
Ana Sortun tops stuffed zucchini with a tangy sauce of feta, olive oil and Hungarian peppers (spicy wax chiles). To make it even easier, top the roasted zucchini with a little feta, then broil briefly.
Bacon-and-Romaine Skewers with Blue Cheese Dressing
Wedge salad (iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing and bacon) is a classic American dish. Here, James Holmes reconfigures it as a playful cocktail snack.
Greek Salad Sandwiches
This is Greek salad perfection: Michael Psilakis tops warm bread with garlicky red-pepper tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt spread) and a piquant combo of cucumbers, olives, peperoncini, tomatoes, radishes, greens and feta. It's stellar with homemade ladopsomo bread and yogurt, but equally good with store-bought.
These crisp, light fritters taste like nothing but fresh lobster and sweet corn.
Eggplant Involtini with Grilled Ratatouille
Faux cheeses made with nuts are key to vegan cooking. To stuff these involtini, chef Sean Baker re-creates the flavor of ricotta by combining pureed raw cashews with nutritional yeast, which has a very savory, almost cheese-like flavor and is available at well-stocked specialty and natural food stores.
Fresh Herb-and-Tomato Salsa with Smoked Cheese
Inspired by an Italian Caprese salad, this tomato salsa is full of calcium-rich cheese. It's so chunky it could be eaten on its own with a fork, but it's also wonderful with shredded chicken.
Grilled Zucchini Kebabs with Zucchini Dip
Alternate zucchini with yellow squash, if you’d like.
Daikon-Papaya Summer Rolls with Minted Yogurt Sauce
Douglas Keane says that these summer rolls, filled with tangy marinated daikon, cucumber and papaya, are the perfect way to jolt the palate before a rich meal that will likely include truffles and foie gras.
Warm Olives with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon
Chef Marc Murphy serves these olives warm to accentuate the marinade's lemony flavor.
Mini Brioche Lobster Rolls
These rolls, which are a delightful play on the traditional lobster roll, are quite substantial, so one per person is plenty, especially if you're serving additional hors d'oeuvres. Cooked shrimp or lump crab is a fine alternative to lobster.
Bacon-Wrapped Cherry Peppers
These genius hors d'oeuvres from Colby Garrelts (an F&W Best New Chef 2005) call for just three ingredients. The recipe can be made ahead of time, so it's great for parties.
Caponata Crostini with Goat Cheese
This eggplant based relish is a delicious accompaniment to just about everything.
Honey Tomato Bruschetta with Ricotta
Caesar Salad Spears
Forkless salad is a game-changer.
Crispy Polenta Bites with Arugula Tapenade
Instead of using polenta as a side dish, turn it into crouton-like hors d'oeuvres.
Kimchi Corn Dogs
These bite-size kimchi corn dogs are an umami-rich twist on a childhood favorite.
Achari Pimiento Cheese Spread
Traditional pimiento cheese gets a kick with classic Indian pickling spices.
Mango-and-Halloumi Fritto Misto
Seafood and vegetables are often the star of fritto misto (mixed fry). In this version, F&W’s Justin Chapple swaps in ripe but firm mangoes and sturdy halloumi cheese, showcasing their incredible versatility. A batter of fizzy club soda, flour, and cornstarch forms a crust that is light but dippable.
Fried Green Tomatoes, Pickles, and Okra with Crème Fraîche Ranch Dip
Fried green tomatoes are a classic Southern treat, perfect for summer months when green tomatoes are plentiful. Served with fried pickles and okra and a cooling crème fraîche riff on ranch dressing, a platter of super-crunchy, tangy fried veggies will make you the star of every summer party or weeknight dinner.
Tuna-Avocado Ceviche with Salsa Macha
This ceviche is great on top of tostadas or eaten like poke as an appetizer. And the best part is that you can make the salsa ahead of time, and just stir it together with the remaining ingredients just before you’re ready to eat.
Grilled Oysters with Chorizo Butter
No shucking necessary: Once the oysters open on the grill, simply top them with David Kinch’s smoky, tangy butter.