Hors D’oeuvres and Finger Foods – Part 3 “Elegant Bites”

hors dervs

When people describe an elegant event they are speaking in code. Whether they realize it or not, they are either trying to convey that it was expensive or that it was chic.

Paying a lot of money, in no way, guarantees you an elegant event. Frequently, you are simply paying up for tacky. That’s just embarrassing.

Elegance is about good taste. Chic is an obnoxious way of describing something that you like, that you were previously unfamiliar with.

An elegant appetizer can be created easily and inexpensively. There are only two essential elements. 

  1. Easy to eat with no mess. Ideally, you can plunk it into your mouth in one bite. If guests dress nicely they tend to avoid appetizers that drip or fall apart.
  2. Interesting combinations of flavors and textures. People tend to feel excited about discovering new pleasures, even if it’s something as simple as an appetizer.

These are a few easy recipes that will be sure to please.

Remember, always serve hors d’oeuvres with cocktail napkins.

Polenta Discs

These discs are delicious on their own but they are also an ideal base for tasty toppings. 


  • Olive oil
  • 6 c water
  • 2 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 1/4 c instant polenta
  • 1/2 c finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp butter.

polenta disc


  1. Bring the water to a boil with the cubes of bouillon
  2. Slow pour in the polenta
  3. Stir until it thickens 3-5 min
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Stir in the butter and Parmesan
  6. Grease a square pan and pour in the polenta
  7. Let it cool
  8. Refrigerate for 1-2 hrs until it sets
  9. Cut small circles with a cookie cutter
  10. Heat olive oil in a skillet
  11. Sauté the discs until golden brown on both sides
  12. Top with a dollop of ricotta
  13. A drizzle of pesto
  14. 1/2 cherry tomato

Sautéed Mushrooms Chopped


  • 1Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbsp red wine
  • 2 c mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream


  1. Heat oil in a skillet
  2. Add butter
  3. Add the mushrooms and wine
  4. Add rosemary and garlic
  5. Stir until mushrooms are soft about 6 min
  6. Turn heat down and simmer for about 10 more min
  7. Add cream
  8. Stir until it thickens a bit 2-3 min
  9. Place a small spoonfuls on warm polenta disks

Asparagus in Phyllo Dough

These look terrific and taste great. As an added bonus, people will think that you slaved over them


Adjust the amounts for the number of guests

  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus, cut off the ends to leave 3-4 inch spears including the tip
  • 1 sheet of phyllo dough thawed
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Boil the cut asparagus spears for about 3 min. Still firm but tender
  3. Remove the asparagus
  4. Dry it and let it cool
  5. Cut the sheet of phyllo to the length of the spears
  6. Peel off 1-2 thin sheets. Phyllo dough is layered 1 sheet should be thinner than paper
  7. Lay a damp towel over the dough while you work
  8. Brush the sheet with melted butter
  9. Lay one spear on the sheet
  10. Sprinkle lightly with salt and Parmesan
  11. Roll the asparagus in the sheet of dough like a jelly roll
  12. Place it seam down in a lightly greased oven pan
  13. Brush the top lightly with butter
  14. Once they are all wrapped, bake for 10- 15 min until golden brown

Meat Cigars

This is the same procedure as the wrapped asparagus but you stuff them with ground beef instead. Just tuck in the ends of the dough before you bake them so that the meat stays inside, like a tasty gift. 

Curry Meat Filling

This is one example that we like.


  • 1 lb ground pork or beef
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onions
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • Options
  • 1 Tbsp shredded fresh basil or mint.
  • 1 tsp lemon grass


  1. Sauté everything up to the fresh cilantro in a skillet
  2. Stir periodically
  3. Make sure that the meat is fully cooked 15-20 min
  4. Drain the excess fat
  5. Stir in sugar and cilantro and/ or other fresh herbs
  6. Incorporate it all thoroughly
  7. 2-3 min
  8. Taste the flavor and adjust to suit your taste
  9. Remove from the heat and cool
  10. Wrap just like the asparagus using about 2 Tbsp of meat per 4-inch roll.
  11. You don’t need to brush the inside of the sheet with butter. Even though you’ve drained the fat, the meat will still have enough for the dough
  12. Do lightly brush the top with butter so that the dough turns golden and crisp.

Fruit and Cheese Bites

Endive leaves can be filled with all sorts of flavors. We love them with dried fruit and cheese. 


  • 20 crisp small endive leaves
  • 1 c crumbled Gorgonzola
  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temp
  • 3 Tbsp half and half
  • 1/2 c toasted, chopped walnuts. (chop them and toast them on foil for a few min in the toaster oven or oven)
  • 1-2 c dried apricots or cranberries, dates or figs. Mix and match
  • Slices of pear or apples are a fresh option


  1. Mix the Gorgonzola, cream cheese and half and half in a food processor until smooth
  2. Put it in a bowl and stir in the nuts
  3. Use either a pastry bag or a zip lock bag with an edge cut off, to pipe the cheese into the endive leaves
  4. Top with fruit
  5. Delicious!

Next Time

Sweet Bites

Enjoy your hors d’oeuvres

About the author

The Scamper

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