Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Peanut Butter Tomato Canapes

Canapes are small appetizers made from plain or toasted bread. Normally they are spread with meat, cheese, caviar and so on. The variety of shapes and toppings are only limited by your imagination. This version features peanut butter, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

I first learned to make canapes by watching Jacque Pepin, an absolute hero of mine when it comes to cooking. (Don't blame him if you don't like these. He didn't make up the topping.) I included a lot of pictures, so you can better see how to deal with the bread.

While canapes are tasty, and can be quite elegant if done right, they can also be a lot of work to make. Depending on how many you're making, and how you cut them, they can get to be more trouble than they're worth. The first time I made them I swore I'd never do it again. It took me nearly a whole day and I wasted a lot of bread. It's gotten easier with each try, though. I discovered that the secret is just not to get too fancy with it all. This time, it took me less than an hour, and that included taking all the pictures.


1 loaf of bread
1/2 cup P.B. Loco Sun Dried Tomato Peanut Butter
dried crushed basil and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Set the broiler to 425 degree Fahrenheit and let the oven get hot while you prepare the rest.

If you don't have P.B. Loco Sun Dried Tomato Peanut Butter, use regular creamy peanut butter. Stir in 1/4 cup of caned diced tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. It's a different flavor, but it still works.

Make a small cut (about an inch long) straight down, about 1/2 inch away from one edge of the loaf. This makes cutting the rest of the bread a bit safer by creating a “safety line” and gives you somethings to grab the loaf with, from time to time.
Next, cut wide slices, lengthwise, across the top of the bread. Each slice should be about 1/ 3 of an inch thick. Cut down the “safety line” more as needed.
You don't have to, but for this recipe I prefer toasting the bread. Place the slices on a flat sheet pan under the broiler for about 2 or three minutes per side, until they start to get lightly browned.
Let the toasted bread cool so you can easily handle it. Spread the toast with a thick layer of the peanut butter.
Next, trim the crusts from the bread to make even rectangles.
Cut the bread into whatever shape you want: diamonds, wedges, squares, whatever. To make things easy for me, I cut them into smaller rectangles.
Put the cut pieces onto the same sheet pan you used to toast the bread and sprinkle the tops lightly with basil, ground pepper and crumbled feta cheese. You can use plain or herbed feta, to your taste. I use a local brand, “Shepherds.” It's made in Erda, Utah, just a few miles north of my house.

Place the cut pieces under the broiler one more time, for about 2 minutes, until the peanut butter and feta start to melt.

Let them cool slightly before serving.

If you want to get fancy, and thin the bread out a little more, you can cut the toasted bread lengthwise, again, separating the two toasted halves from each other (this is how you make melba toast). Spread the peanut butter on the un-toasted side.

I like these just as well after they've sat in the refrigerator overnight. That way, the oils from the peanut butter that have seeped into the bread have re-solidified, giving the bread a nice texture and extra flavor.

Makes about 12 appetizers.

NOTE: If you've been paying attention, you've noticed there's one canape missing. My wife scarfed it up while I was distracted, crumbling the cheese.

1 comment:

Misa Gracie said...

Suuurrree.. it's was your wife that scarfed it...riiiight. *wink*

Sounds delicious! I'm having a book club meeting on Saturday, I may just have to try these!