Jun 152014

Crisp Potato Canapes with Salmon

I have a contrary streak in me when it comes to following the rules about what foods should be eaten mostly/only on certain holidays. Or maybe I just don’t like being bossed around. For example, I know that Thanksgiving is the holiday of turkey and sweet potatoes, but can’t I enjoy turkey and sweet potatoes year-round? I think I can, and I often do. Tricked-out hard boiled eggs on non-Easter days? You betcha. A summer supper consisting entirely of New Year’s Eve-ish canapés and bubbles? Just watch me.

Using thin slices of crisp-roasted potatoes as a canapé base is easier than you might think. They obviously offer a different texture than toasted bread, and they make the bite seem more substantial — more a part of the whole instead of just a toasted delivery vehicle for the topping. And they come in handy if you’re serving several different canapés — giving some variety to what can otherwise become a whole lot of bread.

The toppings here are luxuriously simple — a bit of smoked salmon, dollop of crème fraîche, dab of salmon roe, sliver of chive. But I’ve also used these potato crisps as a base for things like goat cheese and sundried tomatoes, a red onion-cilantro-pistachio relish, and caramelized shallots and sea salt.

Pairing: Affordable Summer Bubbles

I have the misfortune of having pretty expensive taste when it comes to bubbles. If it were up to me and an unlimited budget, I’d drink vintage Krug, Bollinger Brut Rosé and Veuve Clicquot Brut day and night, 365 days a year. And although there are other wine categories where I can happily quaff the relatively cheap stuff (Chianti, for example), I have a hard time finding inexpensive bubbles that appeal to me. Too simple, too sweet, too flabby.

So when I do find a sparkling wine that suits me for $25 or less, I get pretty excited. Here are three that I’ve really liked lately — two are made with the Champagne method, but in other parts of the world. And one is a reliable, well-made Prosecco. Enjoy!

Jansz NV Brut Tasmania Premium Cuvée ($25). Delicate, refreshing, with pretty green apple and light citrus flavors accented with toast and nutty notes and a touch of cream through the finish. Well-made (using the Champagne method) at a great price. Find it!

Ferrari NV Brut Trento ($25). Crisp and clean, with elegant ripe apple, toasted bread, and light citrus and apricot skin notes, with a delicious finish. Also a Champagne method bubbly. Should age nicely for a few years, too. Find it!

La Marca NV Processo ($17). My go-to Prosecco, I think. Always a good value and widely available, it offers pretty white peach and juice citrus accented with wildflowers, toast and a touch of spice. Nice on its own, and it’s also the bubbly I reach for around the holidays for a ridiculously easy and appealing cocktail — poured over a spoonful of frozen organic cranberry cocktail concentrate. Find it!

Recipe: Potato Crisps

2 large Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 pound), unpeeled
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  Arrange one oven rack in the upper third of the oven, and one rack in the lower third.

Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice potatoes into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil onto each of two baking sheets. Arrange the potato slices on the oiled baking sheets; flipping and moving the slices around in the oil until each slice is coated on both sides. Sprinkle the potatoes with moderate amounts of kosher salt and pepper — you can always add more seasoning after baking. Bake the potato slices for 12 minutes. Flip all the slices and also swap the positions of the baking sheets; then bake another 12-15 minutes, until the edges of the potato slices are browned and sizzling. Remove the potato slices to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside to cool enough to handle.

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