On occasion I make an hors d’oeuvre … on a weeknight … when I’m cooking for two.
If you think that sounds like a lot of fuss for just me and my husband you’re right; it does sound like a fuss. In reality, it’s not much ado about eating.
There are three occasions when I make an everyday hors d’oeuvre. The first is when dinner seems skimpy and without something more we’ll be looking for snacks after dinner. The second is when my refrigerator is home to a bounty of tasty food scraps (bits of cheese, the last spoons of jam, half of a small Persian cucumber, and such). And last, there are times when I feel the need to make something to write about.
In all three circumstances simplicity is among my main goals. I don’t want to make work for myself. I want something small and separate from the meal I’ve already planned and/or made. These tidbits are outside the menu. Which is why I call them hors d’oeuvre rather than appetizers. The definition of hors d’oeuvre, when translated from French, literally means “outside the work.” It’s something separate from the main meal and menu.
We tend to use the terms as synonyms, but to me appetizers are a planned first course that go with the meal. Hors d’oeuvre don’t need to match the meal’s cuisine, whereas appetizers ought to blend in. This isn’t linguistic hairsplitting. We use all sorts of non-English words regarding our food, including entrée, fricassee, parfait, humus, falafel, enchilada, and bratwurst.
These salmon and cucumber hors d’oeuvre have three ingredients. It took me less than five minutes to make a plate for two.
Slice part of a cucumber on the bias. Spread wasabi mayo on top of 2 small slices of lox. Trader Joe’s sells wasabi mayonnaise … if you don’t have any, or don’t want to buy a whole jar mix some dry wasabi powder with a little mayo. Roll the salmon into a log and slice the logs into pieces the same size as the cucumbers. Put one salmon bite on top of each cucumber piece. That’s it.
Actually there’s one more thing. Remember that you made an hors d’oeuvre. I put the plate in the picture above into the refrigerator and forgot about it until bedtime. Conveniently a little lox and cucumber makes a nice addition to breakfast…