Spring is finally here and we’re so excited to hit the farmer’s market for a fresh slew of seasonal foods. Peter Callahan, owner and creative director of New York and Palm Beach-based Peter Callahan Catering, inventor of the “slider,” and best-selling cookbook author, shared these tasty mini recipes that you can totally recreate! Think Easter brunch, a small shower, or just a way to make dinner more delightful for kids. Callahan has worked with Vera Wang, Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, Tory Burch, and countless others to dream up culinary delights. (Martha Stewart coined the term “food conceptualist” to describe him.) Now you can whip up fashionable bites for your crew with these beautifully made minis. Bon appetit!
Grilled Nectarines with Duck Prosciutto, Parmesan, and Basil
- 1 or 2 thin slices of duck prosciutto
- 1 medium nectarine, cut into 8 wedges
- 8 small, thin slices of Parmesan cheese
- 8 ½ inch-long basil leaves
- Cut the prosciutto into 8 pieces 1 ½ inches long.
- Trim a thin slice from the round bottom of each nectarine wedge so the slice will stand up on the platter.
- Heat a grill or a grill pan over high heat until smoking and grill the nectarine wedges on one side only for about 1 minute (the fruit should have grill marks, but not be cooked).
- To assemble, cut a ½ inch-deep slit in the top of each wedge at a 45-degree angle. Layer a piece or prosciutto, a Parmesan shard, and a basil leaf together and slide them into each slit.
For the Bread Cones:
- 6 slices very thinly sliced, densely textured white bread, such as Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White Bread (see Note)
- 12 or 24 large (#801) cake-decorating tips
For the Lobster Salad:
- 2 ounces cooked lobster meat, diced
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- Coarse salt
- Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
- Fresh parsley microgreens, for garnishing the outside of the cones (optional)
- Honey (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Trim the crusts from the bread. With a rolling pin or your hands, press each slice of bread flat so that it becomes dense and doughy. Cut each slice in half diagonally into 2 triangles.
- Roll each bread triangle around a decorating tip with the narrow end of the tip placed at the point at the triangle. Press to seal the overlapping edges and insert the bread-wrapped tip inside another tip to hold it in place. (If you are using 12 tips, work in two batches.)
- Lay the cones on a baking sheet and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cones are light golden brown. Let cool and then gently slide the cones off of the cake decorating tips. (The bread cones can be made a day ahead to this point. Store in an airtight container at room temperature overnight.)
1. In a small bowl, toss together the lobster, mayonnaise, and salt. Do not overwork the salad; mix just to combine. (The lobster salad can be made up to 6 hours ahead and refrigerated until serving.)
1. Carefully spoon a small amount of the lobster salad into each bread cone. Garnish the salad with chopped chives and, if you like, sprinkle the cones with parsley. (First brush the cones with dots of honey to hold the parsley in place.)
Note: We make all our breads in-house, but Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White Bread will work well here. It has fine, dense, even texture and is very thin yet sturdy enough to be rolled flat and manipulated. If you can’t find it at your local grocery, you can order it online.
Mini Lobster Rolls
Makes 3 Dozen
For the Lobster
- 1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 6 celery stalks, very finely chopped
- 6 medium carrots, very finely chopped
- 3 large yellow onions, very finely chopped
- 5 fresh cilantro sprigs (or basil, dill, or parsley sprigs)
- 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into ¼ -inch-thick rounds
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 whole allspice berry ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 ½ -inch piece cinnamon stick
- 1 orange, quartered
- ½ lemon, halved
- 1 1-pound live lobsters
For the Filling
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon truffle oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the wine, celery, carrots, onions, cilantro, ginger, salt, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon stick in large stockpot. Squeeze in the juice from the orange and lemon wedges, and then add the juiced fruit rinds to the pot. Pour in 4 quarts water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and strain through a sieve into a large clean lobster pot or stockpot. Discard what remains in the sieve.
- Bring the liquid back to a boil and add the lobsters. Quickly cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 8 minutes.
- While the lobsters are cooking, fill a large bowl or tub (or your kitchen sink) with ice water and place it next to your stovetop.
- Using tongs, remove the lobsters from the pot and plunge them into ice water. Let the lobsters cool completely, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the lobsters from the ice water. Crack the shells and remove the meat (you should get about 12 ounces of lobster meat). Finely chop the lobster meat into ¼ -inch pieces, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until serving (but no longer than 1 day).
1. Whisk the mayonnaise and truffle oil together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lobster meat and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary.
1. Use a serrated knife to slice the rolls at a 45-degree angle, starting at the top right corner and slicing three-quarters of the way through the roll. Place a small amount of lobster filling in each roll, finish with a chervil leaf, and serve with a lemon wedge.
1. The baked buns can be frozen for up to 1 month in a reusable freezer bag. Defrost them at room temperature for up to a couple of hours before using.
Tip: Buy pre-steamed lobster or lobster tails and use meat to make the lobster rolls. The lobster meat will likely be tougher and less flavorful than if you boil them just before using, but it’s the best way for those who don’t want to boil a live lobster.
Mini Charcuterie Board
Makes 1 dozen
- 6 slices very thinly sliced, densely textured wheat bread, such as Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Wheat Bread
- 12 ½ inch-square pieces of roasted red pepper
- 12 1X ½ -inch pieces of Fontina cheese
- 12 small strips of a preserved meat of your choice (see Note)
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
- 3 cornichons, quartered lengthwise
- 12 small chervil sprigs, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut 2 cutting board shapes from each slice of bread and place on the prepared baking sheet. Toast until crunchy, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Place a square of red pepper in the center of each toast. Place the Fontina cheese on top of the pepper and then add a slice of meat. Top with a dot of mustard, the cornichon quarter, and a sprig of chervil for garnish.
Note: We use bresaola (dried beef), but soppressata, salami, and prosciutto will all work well.
Mini Reuben Pretzel Sandwiches
For the Pretzels:·
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 cup warm (110 degrees) water
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- Olive oil, for greasing the bowl
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
For the Filling:
- 4-ounce block of Gruyère cheese
- 4 ounces corned beef
- ¼ cup Russian Dressing (recipe follows)
- ½ cup chopped sauerkraut, very well drained
Note: For a round roll, after first rise, portion the dough into 1-ounce balls. Slightly flatten each ball and use kitchen shears to snip a X in the top.
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the warm water and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, the flour, and the 2 teaspoons salt and mix to incorporate the ingredients. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it forms a ball, 2 to 3 minutes. Grease a large bowl with olive oil, place the dough ball in the bowl, and turn it to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
2. Punch down the dough and portion into 1-ounce balls (you should have 20). Roll into ropes, then twist into pretzel shapes. (Alternatively, shape into rolls; see Note.) Cover the pretzels with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until puffy, about 20 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. In a large pot over high heat, bring 6 cups water and the baking soda to a simmer. Working in batches, carefully drop the pretzels (or rolls) in the water and simmer for 15 to 30 seconds, or until they float. Remove from the water with slotted spoon and place on the prepared sheet. Brush lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with salt.
5. Bake for 1 to 2 minutes, or until just beginning to color. Brush quickly with some of the remaining melted butter and return to the oven to bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove and brush once more with butter after baking. Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Remove the pretzels and set aside to cool, about 20 minutes. Reline the baking sheet with fresh parchment.
1. Meanwhile, slice the Gruyère and the corned beef into 40 squares each to fit the pretzels and set aside.
2. When the pretzels have cooled, split them in half. Spread each half with Russian dressing and assemble into sandwiches with 2 slices of cheese, 2 slices of corned beef, and a pinch of sauerkraut.
3. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and warm in the oven just long enough to heat through and melt the cheese, 2 to 3 minutes.
Makes about 1 ½ cups
- 1 cup good-quality mayonnaise or eggless mayonnaise substitute
- ½ cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, ketchup, and relish and stir to blend. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Mini Banana Splits
- 8 mini scoops vanilla ice cream
- 8 mini scoops chocolate ice cream
- 8 mini scoops strawberry ice cream
- 16 banana slices
- ½ cup Chocolate Sauce, homemade or store-bought
- ½ cup whipped cream
- ¼ cup rainbow sprinkles
- 8 Maraschino cherries
1. Place one scoop of each flavor of ice cream in a mini sundae dish. Place a banana slice in between scoops. Drizzle each sundae with chocolate sauce and top with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry.
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup corn syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 20 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1. In a medium saucepan, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup water with the cream, corn syrup, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Place the chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl and pour the hot liquid over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk to emulsify. Store any leftover sauce in covered container in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Lemon-Basil and Cherry Slushies
Makes 4 to 6
- 5 cups of iced cubes
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2/3 cup sugar
- Leaves from ½ bunch of basil, topmost sprigs reserved for garnish
- Lemon slices, for garnish
1. Combine the ice, lemon juice, sugar, and basil leaves in the jar of high-speed blender or slushie machine. Blend on high speed until mixture is slushy. Serve immediately, garnished with a lemon slice and sprig of basil.
Makes 4 to 6
- 5 cups of ice cubes
- ¾ pound frozen cherries, pureed and strained to yield 1 cup juice
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ cup Simple Syrup
- Fresh cherries, for garnish
1. Combine the ice, cherry and lime juices, and simple syrup in the jar of a high-speed blender or slushie machine. Blend on high-speed until mixture is slushy. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh cherry.
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