By Nancy Pollard
After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years—La Cuisine in Alexandria, Virginia—Nancy Pollard writes Kitchen Detail, a blog about food in all its aspects—recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food-related issues.
WE HAD NO idea that KD readers would be so enamored of our winter Horses Doovers*, so here’s a Summer Edition with recipes for little somethings to have with drinks when the heat is on. I am inspired to copy one of my friends, who frequently has guests for what is really a meal of appetizers with a couple of different wines.
The not-so-new recipes here are just what summer drinks need. The Crabmeat Parmesan Triangles can be prepped the day before and then popped into the oven. Peter Reinhart’s Lavash recipe can be done anytime, broken into shards and kept in an airtight container. Just serve with your favorite dips. The Italian melon canapé requires no cooking, and can be wrapped up to serve several hours before you start crushing the ice for daiquiris.
The Crabmeat Parmesan Triangles, which I have made for years, come from a 1994 issue of Gourmet Magazine. I found out that it is really an equally tasty but easier version of the Canapé Lorenzo from Louis De Gouy and Galatoire’s Restaurant in New Orleans. Not much is written about him, but he was the chef at the Waldorf and wrote The Gold Cookbook in 1946 (which I have) and also was a co-founder of Gourmet Magazine, in addition to publishing 16 cookbooks.
Crabmeat Parmesan Triangles
- 9 slices of white sandwich bread (homemade or from a good bakery)
- 1 cup fresh crabmeat (lump is recommended)
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- Salt and fresh pepper, to taste
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 scallions (with some green), chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Remove the crusts from the bread and cut each slice into 4 triangles.
- Toast the bread on a baking sheet until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes depending on your oven.
- With your fingers, crumble the crabmeat pieces so that they will blend more easily with the other ingredients when mounded onto the toasts.
- In a bowl, stir together the crabmeat, mayonnaise, salt and pepper, grated Parmesan, and scallions.
- Add a bit of lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375F.
- Spread the crab mixture on the toasts and arrange on the baking sheet.
- Bake canapés in the middle of the oven until puffed, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- You can make the toasts and the crab mixture a day ahead and refrigerate. Bag the bread triangles, and seal and cover the crab mixture tightly.
- You can assemble the canapés before the final baking about an hour ahead. Just cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- I have frozen the toast triangles topped with the crab mixture, unbaked, and then put them in a freezer bag and they bake off satisfactorily, though not quite as good as when you bake them fresh.
In the shop, before the advent of the Tartine Bakery bread book and Ken Forkish’s Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast—both excellent in what they teach—the ur-book on breads in La Cuisine was Peter Reinhart’s classic, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. We carried it when it first was published in 2001 and kept selling copies until we closed the shop in 2018. The current version is an updated 15th anniversary edition. So Mr. Reinhart has proven that this book is not a flash in the bread pan.
Should you want to know more about how to approach a wider world of bread- making but with a real hands-on approach and truly helpful rather than artsy photos, purchase this book. I actually read it at night when I really want to understand a certain technique as his writing is quite engaging. But back to his lavash. I use a tapered rolling pin so that I can get the dough paper thin, as Reinhart advises, and I roll it out on Silpat, which fits onto my carbon-steel baking sheet. I can’t tell you how much fun I have choosing herb, spice, and salt combinations to dash across the top before it’s baked! Sometimes, I just put Fleur de Sel or Maldon salt and freshly ground Rainbow Peppercorns.
I serve Reinhart’s lavash with this addictive dip from Munira Mamud, which I found in the cookbook Together, written to raise funds for a community kitchen after the hideous 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London.
- 1½ cups (191gr) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon (3.5gr) fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon (1.5gr) instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon (21gr) honey or sugar
- 1 tablespoon (14gr) vegetable oil
- ½ cup (112gr) room-temperature water
- 1 egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon water for egg-white wash
- Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds are Peter Reinhart’s suggestions
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, yeast, honey or sugar, oil and just enough water to bring everything together in a ball. (You may not need all the water so just add gradually.)
- Sprinkle some flour onto your counter and transfer dough to counter.
- Knead for six minutes until the dough components are thoroughly integrated.
- Use the windowpane test to check the development of the gluten, or check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer (I use Thermapen) to get a reading between 77 and 81F, or 25-27C.
- Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours (or in the fridge overnight).
- Preheat oven to 350F (177C).
- I roll the dough out on a Silpat that fits my baking sheet, but you can roll it out on a lightly floured counter or use a bit of oil on the counter as Peter Reinhart suggests. You want a paper-thin sheet of about 15×12 inches or 38x30cm.
- You can allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes and then transfer it to a parchment-lined bake sheet.
- Mist the dough with water spray or brush with egg white and sprinkle with your choice of seeds, spices, and salt.
- You can cut the crackers before baking, if you prefer.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The cracker sheet should be lightly golden.
- Allow the lavash to cool before breaking into shards or separating the crackers.
- I have made this with both all-purpose and bread flour. The texture of the lavash is a bit different with each style of flour. Bread flour made the cracker a bit chewier, and the all-purpose flour made a crisper cracker. Both are nice.
This no-cook entry for our Summer Edition of Horses Doovers is due to the diligence of the Resident Wine Maniac in our house. A triple treat on a toothpick is a delicious combination. I was surprised at how good it was. And once again it comes from a Gourmet Magazine published in 1992! It was written up as an Italian antipasto, and even though getting the sizes of the three components is a bit fiddly, once you get them all lined up on a platter, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated, you are good to go.
I cut the melon in half like a grapefruit. Scoop out the seeds and then slice two 1¼-inch rings. Then I slice the rings in half and remove the rind with a flexible knife. Then I cut slices as you would a stick of butter. These I cut in half, but you can leave them larger, if you prefer. I cut the Taleggio into approximately the same size. The prosciutto gets sliced or torn into thinner strips (½ inch approximately). Sandwich the melon and Taleggio pieces ( you can smoosh the Taleggio so that it fits the melon) and then wrap the prosciutto around and secure with a toothpick. I place them on a paper towel on a tray and cover with cling wrap because ususally I make them several hours ahead of a party. That takes care of the moisture leaking out of the melon while the canapé is waiting to be devoured. Bring them out a half-hour before you start pouring something bubbly.
Prosciutto, Taleggio, and Melon Bites
- A 2.2-pound (1kg) green melon such as honeydew
- 1/3 pound (152gr) Taleggio cheese, rind removed
- ¼ pound (114gr) prosciutto, thinly sliced
- Cut the melon in half like a grapefruit.
- Scoop out the seeds and then slice two 1¼-inch rings.
- Slice the rings in half and remove the rind with a flexible kinfe.
- Cut ½-inch slices as you would a stick of butter. These I cut in half, but you can leave them larger, if you prefer.
- Cut the Taleggio into approximately the same size.
- The prosciutto gets sliced or torn into thinner strips (½ inch approximately).
- Sandwich the melon and Taleggio pieces (you can smoosh the taleggio so that it fits the melon) and then wrap the prosciutto around and secure with a toothpick.
- These measurements are all approximate; do not feel you must be an architectural engineer!
- I place the canapés on a paper towel on a tray and cover with cling wrap if I am doing these several hours ahead.
- Over a long period of time, the melon pieces can leak out moisture.
- Save the prosciutto trimmings and use in a pasta dish. Leftover melon can be added to a fruit salad.
- We have been known to just eat these and maybe some salted Marcona almonds with Prosecco and then go out for ice cream.