Here we are, at the last post for the savory canapes, which has been languishing in the drafts folder while I futilely wished for better photos to illustrate it with. Unfortunately, regret doesn’t seem to be producing any new pictures, so I’m relenting and making do with what I have.
This appetizer is my gussied up version of the classic chip and dip platter. My favorite chip dip has forever been the one made from dry Lipton’s French Onion Soup mixed with sour cream and/or yogurt, and I stayed true to those flavors, while injecting a few more ingredients and a lot more from-scratchness. And also bacon, because why wouldn’t I add bacon?
These had the shortest tray life of any of the appetizers, as the chips easily become soggy under the weight of the dip if not quickly consumed, but I also noticed more people grabbing seconds and thirds of this canape than the other, more exotic mixtures. Cute little scallion garnish included, these have four components, so let’s get rolling on those recipes!
Caramelized Onion Dip – adapted from Pinch of Yum
(best when the flavors are allowed to mature for at least 8 hours)
3 yellow onions
2 TBSP butter
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups sour cream
1 cup cream cheese
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled into small pieces
Melt the butter in a large-bottomed pan over low heat while you peel and thinly slice your onions. Add onions all at once to the pan, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions caramelize, turning a deep brown color. This can take some time, so it’s helpful to have another project lined up to keep yourself busy while you supervise them. As long as nothing’s burning, they’re making good use of the time developing flavor. When they’re nicely caramelized, pour in the white wine and stir up all the little bits on the bottom of the pan. This should also help distribute the color evenly, if you have any pale holdouts.
Transfer the onions to a cutting board and vigorously mince them into small pieces. Scoop into a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir in the sour cream, cream cheese, Worcestershire, and bacon crumbles until well combined. Do your end-of-recipe taste test and add more salt and pepper if needed. Chill before serving.
Potato Gaufrettes – very fancy French way to refer to humble fried potatoes
If you don’t have access to a mandoline slicer, these are not the way to go. A simple chef’s knife should allow you to manage regular potato chips, but the ridged mandoline blade is what provides the waffling for the gaufrette version. In either case, make these as close to when you want to serve them as possible. They’ll be decent for about three days, but staleness starts to set in after that.
To make gaufrettes, pick out your longest, thinnest, and straightest russet potato and give it a good scrubbing. Set up your mandoline with its crinkle cut blade and thinnest slicing setting. Cut off the narrow end of the potato, then begin slicing, rotating the potato 180 degrees between each slice. You may need to play around with your settings to get these just right, as how much pressure you exert on the potato can have a big effect on the thickness of the slices. You want them just thick enough to hold together, but also thin enough that each slice is full of little windows. The scraps and mistakes fry up fine for kitchen snacks.
Have a bowl of cold water on your workstation and drop the chips into it as you cut them. They’ll fry up better after a rinse and it will keep them from oxidizing, so it’s a win-win. When you’re ready to fry, drain the water off of the slices (they don’t need to be totally dry, but shake as much excess water off as you can). Drop chips into 375 degree oil and fry until golden brown. You’ll want to slide them into the oil almost as if you were dealing cards, so that each chip has a chance to get its own coat of oil and doesn’t stick to its neighbors in a giant clump. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle generously with salt while still hot. As always when frying, you’ll get the best results if you don’t overcrowd the oil and give it time to come back up to temperature between batches.
My average yield when cutting these is 60 chips per large Idaho russet potato, but since potatoes aren’t totally standardized yet, this is just an experience based estimate.
Cheddar Cheese Crisps –
Grate 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese as finely as possible. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread about 1/2 tsp of cheese in a small, single layer circle to form each frico, leaving 1 inch of space between circles. Bake for 5-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them. You’re looking for the cheese to melt into a lacy structure and just start to darken. Remove from the sheet while still warm to reduce unplanned breakage. If your cheese spilled a lot of grease out, you may want to let them rest on paper towels for a few minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Sexy Scallions – name adopted from a chef mentor, because it’s catchy
Like the onion dip, you’ll want to prep these the day before serving or you’ll miss out on the magic. Clean and dry your scallions, trimming off any wilted leaves, but leaving the roots to act as a handle. With your sharpest knife, slice the scallion as thinly as possible on a sharp bias (you want your slices to be one to two inches long). Drop into a container of ice water and refrigerate overnight. The scallions will transform into delightful little curls that look they took much more effort than they actually did.