Quick Appetizers

Smoked-Trout Crackers with Broken Tapenade
Photo: © Eva Kolenko

From delicious falafel-spiced nuts to a riff on classic cheese fondue, these incredible appetizers are ready in an hour or less.

01 of 24

Rye Crisps with Tomatoes and Sardines

Rye Crisps with Tomatoes and Sardines
CON POULOS

This recipe from Food & Wine's Justin Chapple makes the most of canned sardines. Chapple prepares a bright herb mayo to spread on rye crisps, then tops them with a cherry tomato salad and good-quality sardines. The juices from the tomatoes soften the rye crisps ever so slightly.

02 of 24

Joyce's Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps

Joyce's Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs in Lettuce Wraps

Jennifer Joyce gives chicken meatballs a heavenly sticky glaze by rolling them in sugar before baking.

03 of 24

Baked Sheep’s Milk Ricotta with Dried Persimmons

Baked Sheep's Milk Ricotta With Dried Persimmons
Greg DuPree

This recipe is inspired by Spike Gjerde’s relationship with local makers and purveyors. Hoshigaki are Japanese persimmons that have been dried and massaged to evenly distribute their sugars. Gjerde shaves them and scatters them over baked ricotta to make an indulgent but healthy snack.

04 of 24

Feta-and-Radish Toasts

Feta-and-Radish Toasts. Photo © John Kernick
© John Kernick

Steven Satterfield serves some combination of feta and radishes almost every day. He says you can use any assortment of radishes for these toasts, like watermelon, pink beauty, cherry belle or d'Avignon. If you slice the radishes ahead of time, keep them in a bowl of ice water, which makes them extra cold and crispy.

05 of 24

Smorgasbord

Smorgasbord
Con Poulos

A Smorgasbord offers you and your guests the chance to mix and match each bite. Fill the board with an array of cured fish, pickles, breads, and crackers, and dig in. This spread works well all day, from brunch to an elegant twist on snack dinner.

06 of 24

Smoked-Trout-and-Caper-Cream-Cheese Toasts

Smoked-Trout-and-Caper-Cream-Cheese Toasts. Photo © Michael Turek
© Michael Turek

Inspired by the classic combination of bagels with lox and cream cheese, Tory Miller devised this variation using smoked, locally raised trout and homemade English muffins. It would be equally good on other breads, such as a baguette, or even the bagel that inspired it.

07 of 24

Squash Blossoms with Pimento Ricotta

Squash Blossoms with Pimento Ricotta
FREDRIKA STJÄRNE

Here, Matt Lee and Ted Lee created a new version of a Tuscan classic, fried squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta. They mix the ricotta with pimentos—an homage to pimento cheese, a Southern favorite—and serve the blossoms raw.

08 of 24

Broiled Mussels with Hot Paprika Crumbs

Broiled Mussels with Hot Paprika Crumbs

A sparkling white wine would be great with these crispy, buttery mussels from Marcia Kiesel.

09 of 24

Heirloom Tomatoes Stuffed with Summer Succotash

Heirloom Tomatoes Stuffed with Summer Succotash
© Quentin Bacon

"Succotash was one of those things I truly hated as a child. I grew up with the frozen kind—it was the lima beans I especially objected to," says Thomas Keller. That changed as he got older and started eating succotash made with fresh vegetables. Now he thinks limas are extraordinary. "One of the best things to happen to lima beans was when they started showing up fresh at farm stands instead of frozen in bags," he says. For a lovely presentation, he spoons his buttery succotash into hollowed-out heirloom tomatoes.

10 of 24

Crab Rolls with Lemon Aioli

Fast Crab
PHOTO © PAUL COSTELLO

New Orleans chefs often drown seafood in rich, spicy sauces, but here, chef Jason McCullar simply dresses sweet crabmeat (a Louisiana staple) in lemon-scented aioli. The crab salad is wonderful piled on hot dog buns like a New England lobster roll or arranged delicately on small rolls as hors d'oeuvres.

11 of 24

Lamb Pizzettes

Lamb Pizzettes
© Kana Okada

This recipe is based on the Arabic lamejun, a thin piece of dough topped with minced meat, then baked. Here, Grace Parisi flavors ground lamb with cumin, mint and pine nuts.

12 of 24

Tomatillo Toasts with Prosciutto and Manchego

Tomatillo Toasts with Prosciutto and Manchego
Christopher Testani

Inspired by classic pan con tomate, a Spanish dish of bread rubbed with fresh tomato, Food & Wine’s Justin Chapple tops crunchy toasted bread with tangy grated tomatillos. To round the toast out, he also adds thin slices of prosciutto and shaved Manchego cheese.

13 of 24

Grilled Shrimp Summer Rolls

Grilled Shrimp Summer Rolls

Grilling is a fat-free way to cook omega 3–rich shrimp. "And kids love rolling food in rice paper," Emeril Lagasse says.

14 of 24

King Crab and Avocado Shooters

King Crab and Avocado Shooters
© Frederic Lagrange

Valeria Huneeus loves tossing fresh crab with sweet and soft avocados, a little coconut milk and fresh ginger, then serving it in a glass, shooter-style, with a thick slice of avocado on top.

15 of 24

Classic Cheese Fondue

Classic Cheese Fondue
© Rob Howard

Chef Ryan Hardy makes his luxurious fondue with two kinds of Swiss cheese (Emmentaler and Gruyère) and two kinds of spirits (white wine and Kirsch), all traditional ingredients. Some of the dipping items are also classic, like cubes of crusty bread and pickles, but some are unconventional, like slices of Hardy’s salami and other hearty house-cured charcuterie, which are all wonderful with the winey fondue.

16 of 24

Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee

Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee
© Frances Janisch

Daniel Boulud makes this oozy appetizer with Vacherin Mont-d’Or, a creamy cheese sold at top cheese shops. Camembert is as rich and runny as Vacherin Mont-d’Or, but much easier to find.

17 of 24

Roasted Red Peppers with Tonnato Sauce

Roasted Red Peppers with Tonnato Sauce
© Lucy Schaeffer

Tonnato sauce—a smooth puree of olive oil–packed tuna, mayonnaise, capers and anchovies—is traditionally served in Piedmont with slices of roasted veal. Chef Andrew Feinberg likes to spoon the sauce onto a plate and top it with a layer of wood oven–roasted peppers.

18 of 24

Black-Sesame Salmon Balls

Black-Sesame Salmon Balls
© John Kernick

The sesame seeds on these wasabi-spiked salmon balls are unexpectedly high in calcium.

19 of 24

Fried Parsnip Ribbons

Fried Parsnip Ribbons

Top stewy braised dishes with these earthy vegetable chips for a bit of crunch. Or serve them with cocktails as a salty snack.

20 of 24

Shrimp and Squid Cocktails with Avocado and Tomato

Day 29: Shrimp and Squid Cocktails with Avocado and Tomato
DANIELA STALLINGER

The Spanish name for this seafood salad is vuelva a la vida, which means "return to life." The reason: This cold, refreshing, vitamin-C-rich starter is a reputed hangover cure. It's especially popular in Nicaragua and in coastal towns in Mexico.

21 of 24

Red Wine Bagna Cauda with Crudités

Red Wine Bagna Cauda with Crudités
© Cedric Angeles

This garnet sauce is Chris Cosentino’s take on the classic Piedmontese anchovy-and-olive-oil dip, enriched here with red wine. Italian for “hot bath,” bagna cauda is served warm with crudités. This version, with both oil-packed and marinated anchovies, doubles as a terrific sauce for grilled meat.

22 of 24

Falafel-Spiced Pecans

Falafel-Spiced Pecans

Toasting nuts briefly in the oven makes them crispy but tossing them with falafel mix first makes them even crunchier. You can substitute walnuts in place of the pecans here.

23 of 24

Warm Piquillo and Crab Dip

Warm Piquillo and Crab Dip
© Tina Rupp

For this classic tapa, chef Jose Garces stuffs his delicious crab salad into individual piquillo peppers and roasts them until hot. Instead of laboriously stuffing piquillo peppers, spread the crab mixture in a baking dish, top it with slices of the peppers, then cook until warm and melty.

24 of 24

Smoked-Trout Crackers with Broken Tapenade

Smoked-Trout Crackers with Broken Tapenade
© Eva Kolenko

Chef Eli Dahlin of Dame in Portland, Oregon, heats this two-ingredient olive tapenade to draw out the olive oil. The result is a quick, briny sauce that is fantastic drizzled on smoked fish, roasted vegetables or a sandwich layered with spicy cured meats.

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