Polish Appetizer Needed
My cooking club is having a meeting on Saturday night and the theme is Polish food, and I have to bring an appetizer. I've searched the internet and it seems that all of the appetizers are rather heavy. Please, any suggestions for a Polish appetizer that's not too heavy. Tia
Most Polish food is heavy. And I'm not sure this could be categorized as "light"...but how about little potato pancakes with smoked salmon?
When I was a young man, the Polish-American Club in my hometown used to serve bite-sized (maybe 2 bites) cabbage rolls. Same recipe as the big ones, but rolled much tighter using 1/2 a cabbage leaf (or less). Still not too light, but if one only has 2 or 3......
You could make canapés out of small rounds of a dark Polish bread topped with spicy mustard and a slice of sausage, ham or smoked bacon. You could also take dried Polish mushrooms, reconstitute them and make a light filling for croquettes (krokiety).
Most smoked fish is considered Central/Eastern European. How about smoked salmon on pumpernickel or rye cocktail bread spread with some cream cheese? you can garnish with a dab os salmon caviar or a sprig of dillweed. If this is a plated appetizer, you could serve this with a small amount of dilled cucumber salad.
You could also serve individual cabbage rolls on toothpicks, they don't have to be stuffed with meat. Use rice or veggies. I have seen this as an appetizer at some fancy weddings.
Pierogis might be a little heavy, but you could do a cheese filling, less heavy than kraut or meat.
Polish Wild Mushroom Soup
Mushrooms are an important part of the Polish diet; use wild mushrooms!
1/4 lb dried wild mushrooms
9 cups vegetable or meat stock
1 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon cornstarch
chopped fresh parsley
1. Cover mushrooms with cold water and soak overnight.
2. Drain the mushrooms reserving the soaking liquid, strain the liquid through a fine cloth.
3. Rinse the mushrooms in cold water to remove any remaining sand then slice into strips.
4. Add the mushrooms, 8 cups of of the beef stock and the soaking liquid to a 3 quart saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat 4 hours.
5. Melt the butter in a heavy skillet, add the onion, saute until golden brown then add to the soup.
6. Whisk the cornstarch with the remaining cup of beef stock, add to the soup, stir and simmer until slightly thickened.
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper, ladle into individual bowls, top each with 1 tbls sour cream and sprinkle with parsley.
Here are some other suggestions from a Polish Food web site:
Chłodnik litewski: cold yoghurt-and-beetroot soup served with a cooked egg.
Barszcz biały: sour thick wheat and potato starch soup with marjoram, sometimes with cream
Barszcz czerwony: hot refreshing beetroot soup, sometimes with dumplings, a hard boiled egg or beans
Żurek: sour rye soup with potato, sausage or an egg, sometimes served in a bread loaf
Krupnik: barley soup with smattering of vegetables and smoked meat
Kapuœniak: sour cabbage soup
Zupa ogórkowa: hot cucumber soup
Zupa koperkowa: dill soup
Rosoł z kurczaka: golden chicken consomme with noodles
Flaki wołowe: pork tripe
Smalec: - partially double fried lard. It is often spread over bread and served as an appetizer before dishes or while drinking beer!
Jajecznica: - scrambled eggs with dill
Œledzie w œmietanie: herring in sour cream
Œliwka w boczku - Deep-fried plum in bacon
Oof, it's a misconception that Polish food is all heavy!! Spring / summer means fantastic fresh veggie salads, fruit compotes, and a tradition of small canapes that don't have to be just smoked fish or heavy meats. All good as appetizers.
A standard summer salad on every table: Slice cucumber very thinly, toss with very thinly sliced white onion, sprinkle with a little salt and let drain. Make a dressing of sour cream thinned with white vinegar, a pinch of sugar to take the edge off, dried or fresh dill, S &P. Combine, serve in small ramekins or spoons as an appetizer. Same dressing works great for a sliced fresh tomatoes combined with thinly sliced pickles.
Depending on how early in advance you need to prepare, fresh-grated potato & onion pancakes can be very light and easy. Just use minimum amount of flour and 1 egg to loosely bind the grated potato and onion, S & P, and pan fry. Silver-dollar size and thin should retain good texture for transport. These are fine at room temperature, with a dollop of sour cream added when serving. I love these plain with a dusting of granulated sugar too; sounds odd, but very good.
Fruit compote shots! Stone fruit are best, plums, peaches, cherries. Simmer de-pitted fruit in water with a few cloves, cinnamon stick, some citrus zest is nice, and sugar to taste depending on how sweet your fruit is, until fruit is very very tender. Serve in small punch cups chilled. Add a shot of brandy if it's that kind of group.
And for a canape idea: cold thin slices of roast tenderloin, on salty buttered dark bread, with good horseradish on the side to taste, sliced pickles too.