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What Appetizer with Creamy Polenta and Mushroom Kale (with Pancetta) main course? Pastry? Fish? Help!

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As stated above I'm making creamy polenta toped with Mushroom, Kale, and Pancetta. I need an appetizer to serve before it. I'll only have about an hour to spend on the app. (and maybe another hour of cook time). i was thinking fish might be good. I'd love to do a pastry of some kind. I'm also gonna be serving a cheese plate with crostini and then Magnolia Bakery Recipe Cup Cakes (a birthday request). Probably I'll do a light salad course as well. Any ideas?

Thanks all,


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    1. A great appetizer would be smoked salmon, finely chopped red onion, fresh dill, capers, sour cream - all on dense pumpernickel bread (the kind that comes in the small loaf).

      1. Yukon gold potatoe pancakes topped with smoked trout.
        Grate potatoes and season with garlic, salt, and pepper. Fry 2" dia. cakes in olive oil until golden and crisp. In a bowl combine chopped smoked trout with red onion and fresh chopped herbs of your choice. Place some of the trout mixture on a fresh pancake and serve with a dolop of sour cream.

        1. Take smoked salmon, spread with cream cheese that has been blended with chopped capers, a little lemon juice, S&P (or however you like your cream cheese mix), wrap smoked salmon cream cheese side around top of bread sticks. This must be assembled just before serving to avoid soggy bread sticks, but it's easy and fast and they were a big hit when I served them awhile back. You can serve them upright in glasses and they look pretty.

          1. Hollow out a baguette, fill with salmon mousse, chill till very firm, slice, top with dill creme fraiche, dill sprig and tiny piece of lemon.


            1. Given that you have creamy polenta, and cheese and cupcakes, I think I might go with a light salad, just as you suggested. If you make it very, fresh and make a great dressing, perhaps dress it up with herbed croutons.

              1. Along the smoked salmon idea, how about cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, etc. stuffed into snow peas? Or on endive?

                1. When I read your menu so far, fresh tomatoes came to mind -- stuffed with one of the delicious ideas above as a salad? Or baked with flaked fish and breadcrumbs, herbs, etc.? Or perhaps as part of a galette with tuna, red onion and olives?

                  1. Can't help you with appetizer but will you post the polenta recipe when you're done??? It sounds delicious and I was telling a friend just last evening that I was craving polenta with a mushroom ragu!! TIA

                    1. Thanks to all for your help. I think I might try the salmon mousse stuffed in a baugette. Or a recipe for crab and cucumber pastries. I am worried about having too much dairy in this meal but it just worked out that way. I think with a light salad course it should be okay.

                      Thanks again for your help!

                      The polenta/kale recipe is from Bon Apetite by way of Epicurious. I'm excited to try it. It looks easy and tastey!