Beet and Blue Cheese Canapes
Jan, from Family Bites is having a boy - her third, so here's a little something blue for the festivities.
As a group of bloggers, we are scattered across the country so the reality of throwing a proper baby shower where we all sit in a circle on wooden, folding chairs, drink too much white wine and wrap the expectant mommy up in toilet paper are slim to none but that can't stop us from throwing a virtual shower, can it?
When I looked over the list of treats that the other 16 bloggers were making, I realized that it was almost entirely a sugar fest and although I understand that most people would be thrilled with nothing but desserts, I am the weirdo who doesn't really have a big sweet tooth. Where other people go nuts over chocolate, I get all fired up about tiny, crustless tuna sandwiches on white bread and Aunt June's famous devilled eggs. It's not a shower until there is a fancy, little savoury something something on bread so if I am attending this virtual shindig, I'm bringing sammies.
Last week, I did a Crispy Pork Fondue Sandwich using some Tre Stelle Gruyere and Emmental but my next project was to use some cheese from Castello in a recipe as well. In the spirit of killing two birds with one stone, I realized that a virtual baby boy shower was the perfect opportunity to make something using a Castello Blue Cheese. On the off chance, it is a girl (hey, it could happen), the lovely, deep purple beets have that colour theme covered, so however this baby thing plays out, I am covered. I use the Castello crumbled Danish for my blue cheese dip all the time but for this recipe, the Extra Creamy Danish Blue was a better choice for the butter needed for these canapes. It's higher fat content means it blends like a dream, it's smooth and the blue cheese flavour is quite mellow. Despite being a tiny bit spicy, the beet puree is still naturally sweet and the blue cheese butter really creates a beautiful counter balance. Plop a clump of smoked salmon on there and BAM! I think that is where I am supposed to drop the mike. It's like the yin to the beet's yang - it's Harry to the beet's Sally - it's it's spanx to the beet's Oprah, if you will. The only thing that is still up in the air is whether these are little open faced sandwiches or canapes?
So, congrats Jan and all the best to you and your husband, your two boys and the wee one who will be here any minute!
Beet and Blue Cheese Canapesyou need to use one of those firm, dark german style pumpernickel or rye breads that are sliced very thin but stand up to use as the base
*this puree is basically the beet dip from the cookbook, Jerusalem
300g roasted beets, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
1/2 small thai chili, seeded and chopped (or to taste)
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tbls za'atar
1 tbls maple syrup
1 1/2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher
Blue Cheese Butter:
6 tbls soft, salted butter
125 g Castello Extra Creamy Danish Blue Cheese
approx 2 tbls chopped italian parsely
1/4 cup toasted pistachios
1 tbls za'atar
1 tsp maldon salt if you have it, kosher if you don't
appprox 150g smoked salmon
400g package of rye or pumpernickel bread (I used Kasseler Sunfibre Artisan Whole Grain Bread)
another couple of tbls of za'aatar for garnish
You can make the blue cheese butter and the beet puree a day ahead if you like and keep in the fridge but you must bring both back to room temperature before making the canapes.
For the beet puree, put the beets in a food processor with the garlic, the chili and the greek yogurt and process until you have a smooth puree. Scrape it out into a bowl and stir in the za'atar, maple syrup, olive oil and maldon salt and set aside.
To make the blue cheese butter, blend the butter, the blue cheese and the parsely together until smooth - I used my mini food processor but, with some elbow grease, you can do it by hand as long as both ingredients are very soft. Set aside (if you made it in advance, make sure to remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature so that it's soft and spreadable)
Put the toasted pistachios in a food processor and whiz until the nuts are finely ground. Pour them out into a small bowl and stir in the za'atar and the maldon salt and, when ready to go, put the nuts into a shallow bowl big enough to dip the bread into.
Cut each slice of bread into quarters.
Take the salmon out of the fridge and slice it into small strips.
When you have done all of the bread like this, add a spoonful of beet puree on each slice and spread it evenly over the top. Top each with a bit of salmon, arrange on a platter and sprinkle a bit more za'atar over all of the them.
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