Canapés are the quintessential cocktail party appetizer of the 1960s. Recipes abound for these little treats. Melba toasts smothered with anything from decadent caviar to seasoned cream cheese can be found in most cookbooks from that era. Sure enough The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook highlights these hors d’oeuvres with several recipes. Savory or sweet, canapés make a tasty addition to any cocktail party menu. Whether you make the Melba toast on your own, or go for a good-quality store-bought option (which saves a bit of time) there’s an endless amount of creative toppings to try on these toasts. It’s fun to serve more than one variety, certainly your taste buds and guests will agree.
The recipe below for mushroom canapés comes out of the pages of Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin’s cookbook. The Worcestershire sauce wooed me from the beginning. It makes the dish taste retro right from the start. I modified the preparation by slicing the mushrooms instead of finely chopping them (the finely chopped version wasn’t cooperating with the camera). I also omitted the Parmesan cheese for the pictures, but grated cheese can be added to the mix then heated under the broiler until bubbling.
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
kosher salt to taste
ground pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
20 Melba toast rounds
chopped parsley for garnish
Sauté the mushrooms until browned. Add the sauce and seasonings, taste and adjust. Spoon a bit of the mixture on each Melba toast and sprinkle with parsley before serving. Voila!
Whether you’re planning a Mad Men cocktail party or any celebration, canapés are easy to prepare and are an hors d’oeuvre that can impress a crowd. Melba toasts accommodate a wide range of flavors so consider whipping up more than one recipe. For more appetizer ideas for your menu try Bagna Càuda, a quick garlic and anchovies recipe, freshwater prawns prepared as Gambas au Beurre d’Escargot and Buckwheat Blini topped with caviar.