How to start an evening

A trio of canapé dishes


We love being on our backyard patio noshing and sipping to start an evening. Sometimes that is a prelude to dinner indoors, but more often leads to a full meal outdoors. How the evening begins from an appetizer perspective is generally not an afterthought, but is definitely planned up front and there are three that are perennial favorites for us.


Smoked salmon with horseradish cream


If you read my blog, you know that a many of our meals come from the BGE (Big Green Egg). Smoking salmon on the BGE is a favorite, and it contributes to a lot of dishes in this household.


smoking the salmon on the BGE

I tend to brine the salmon overnight in a water bath of maple syrup, brown sugar and a bit of salt (but not so much that the water is salty). I then smoke it with flavorful and fruit focused wood chips (apple or peach) on top of a cedar plank. There is nothing more sublime than recently smoked and moist salmon that is served on crackers with a horseradish sauce.


a delightful start to the evening with freshly smoked salmon

Fried sage leaves with anchovy


This is a recent discovery. Our herb garden was being overtaken by the sage plant, so we began identifying ways to accelerate our use of this flavorful herb. My wife came across a phenomenal recipe that involves anchovy stuffed sage leaves that are fried in vegetable oil.


savory and crunchy goodness

Half an anchovy is pressed in between two large, fresh sage leaves, that have been rinsed and dried. They are then dipped in a tempura style batter and quickly fried in the hot oil, then removed with a slotted spoon in about 30 seconds. The result is a crunchy delicacy.


Marinated tuna on toast


An even more recent discovery is a marinated tuna dish called tonno en sauro. I love Italian dishes that are fragrant and easy to prepare and this has become one of our favorites.


poaching the fresh tuna slices

There is really not much to it other than poaching slices of raw tuna in a sauté pan with EVOO, crushed garlic, sliced shallots, white wine and vinegar (with a sprig of thyme and some peppercorns). The finished product is served on warm, crusty slices of baguette.


tonno en sauro on crunchy bread

Buon appetito!

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