The best party appetizers are attractive, easy to make in bulk and replenish, and appealing to a variety of palates. Enter the classic toast point. Simply made by toasting crustless gluten-fee bread, slicing it into bite-size pieces, and garnishing it with palate-pleasing toppings, it instantly makes any party elegant and requires little more than a cocktail napkin for serving. Here, Niki Ford offer three ways to dress up your toast points. (Photography Lauren Burke)
Gluten-Free Toasts with Fig and Olive Tapenade
MAKES 24 TOASTS Sweet and salty flavor, vegetarian status, and affordability are just a few benefits of this tasty, simple appetizer that easily feeds crowds. Leftover tapenade may be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
½ cup coarsely chopped dried Black Mission figs
½ cup pitted dry-cured black olives
1 tablespoon capers
4 anchovy fillets
1 crushed clove garlic
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
Freshly ground pepper
In a food processor, pulse together the figs, 1 olives, capers, anchovy fillets, garlic, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, then process to a paste.
Spread each toast point with tapenade and top with feta cheese crumbles and freshly ground pepper.
Gluten-Free Toasts with Rustic Chicken Liver Pâté and Fried Sage
MAKES 24 TOASTS The pâté can be made up to four days in advance and stored in an airtight container.
1/3 pound trimmed chicken livers
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for frying the sage
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
3-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
24 sage leaves
Season the chicken livers with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pan and quickly add the livers in a single layer. Cook until the livers begin to brown, 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, turn over the livers, and let them rest in the pan for 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for 1 minute, then test for doneness (they should be pink on the inside when you cut into them). Roughly chop the livers and set aside.
Add the olive oil to the pan and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the finely minced shallot and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 3 tablespoons of the red wine and reduce until syrupy. Add the chopped liver, stir, and let cool. With a wooden spoon, mix in the remaining butter, the parsley, the thyme leaves, and the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon red wine vinegar.
Heat 1⁄3 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 8 sage leaves, stirring occasionally. Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon when they no longer sizzle, 10 to
20 seconds. Transfer the leaves to a paper towel and season with kosher salt (they’ll crisp as they cool). Repeat with the remaining 8 sage leaves.
Spread a little rustic chicken liver on each toast point and garnish with fried sage leaf.
Gluten-Free Toasts with Burrata, Kale, and Preserved Lemon
MAKES 24 TOASTS Gooey fresh cheese, boiled seasoned greens, and a kiss of lemon make this vegetarian hors d’oeuvre elegant yet effortless. Don’t have preserved lemon? Top with a bit of lemon zest.
1 firmly packed cup kale
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch cayenne pepper
8 ounces burrata cheese, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic
Preserved lemon (available at specialty grocers), sliced into slivers, for garnish (optional)
Boil the kale in a pot of salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool. Squeeze out excess water, coarsely chop, and toss with 1 teaspoon extra- virgin olive oil, the lemon juice, and cayenne pepper.
Toss the burrata in a small bowl with the remaining teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Halve the garlic clove and gently rub its cut side across the top of each toast. Top each toast with a bit of burrata, a generous pinch of seasoned boiled kale, and a sliver of preserved lemon.