Or is that the waft of caramelized onions sizzling? Think it might be both.
Noemie and I had the privilege of creating canapes for Hannah and Morgan’s post nuptial celebration. Beautiful humans, inside and out equally matched by a beautiful ceremony. It wasn’t just chopping those onions that bought a tear to the eye… Muzel tov!
I thought I’d share how Noemie and I go about our creative process. Canapes are interesting as they require balance both aesthetically and flavour wise. It’s a bit of a journey. Organic as possible both in process and produce with the aim of a stress free (yet to materialize) and delicious (Better results yielded in this area) outcome that has everyone saying wow and asking how.
First, client input. It’s the most inorganic part of the process, but crucial to getting everyone on the same page. We were lucky with Hannah and Morgan, they trusted us as they’d eaten more of our café fare than the average punter! In other cases, it’s best to find out what is or is not wanted. You can’t go off script, but you can edit... Once you’ve got the parameters defined you can start to get creative.
Then, the pickles and ferments. This takes the longest but will also determine end results. Bright pink or yellow daikon or kraut is going to add some wow factor to your canapes, but it also demands a certain colour palette. 3 bold colours make for a popping morsel. 5 or 7 looks like a jumbled mess. Think of a painter working with bold contrasting colours rather than every colour on their palette.
Already we’re heading down a path.
The kraut and daikon give us acidity, and texture, but from here we won’t want anything more acidic. Now we’re looking to balance the books. Saltiness. Fat. Spice, sweetness, earthen flavours.
We’ll look at the current season. Italian parsley, plenty. Streamside spinach, greenest on earth. A handful of other herbs and we’ve got a hell of a salsa verde. Whole herbs for garnish. Radish, for a punch of pepper and white/red contrast.
The best step from here is to choose some origins or groupings of ingredients.
We had a falafel base on one canape and a kumara rosti on the other.
Falafel leads me towards hummus. A dukkah maybe? The pickled daikon, yellow. Contrast that against a beet red hummus? Then one of the other canapes will field the turmeric kraut. It all starts to become easier. Further down the line the choices are made for you.
The rosti already contained caramelized onion and fennel. It has a broad, earthy flavour, so now we need to add some fatty goodness and a little bite. Cue the kraut, cue the tofu feta. A few strings of caramelized onion, some feathery fennel leaf and we’re there! The rosti and the salsa verde are both darker so the feta also gives a good opportunity to contrast the pop of the yellow kraut against a neutral colour. Hopefully after all these twists and turns we have arrived at something that will disappear in a bite or two but will stay with someone much, much longer.