Melba toast is a great ingredient to use if you want to make lots of buffet canapes or easy party appetizers without having to spend a long time on them. Melba toast is a thinly sliced piece of toast, which is often served with pate or cheese. It can also be served alongside salad or soup, or used to make dressing or stuffing.
Melba toast is named after Dame Nellie Melba, which was the stage name of Helen Porter Mitchell, the famous opera singer. It is believed to have originated in 1897 when the singer was sick and ate a lot of it. Her chef, Auguste Escoffier, created both the toast and peach melba, which is a dessert, to help her recuperate.
You can make melba toast by toasting bread like normal. When the bread is firm on the outside, it is cut through the centre so it becomes very thin, then these two slices are toasted again, making them into toast. You can also buy readymade melba toast, which is a real time saver for making easy party appetizers.
Melba Toast Canape Ideas
You can top the toast with all kinds of things. Try smoked cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, pate and a sprinkling of black pepper, cottage cheese and sliced black olives, smoked salmon and pineapple, Mexican salsa, black olive tapenade or goat’s cheese and cranberry sauce. Actually, the possibilities are nearly endless!
If you work in an organized way, you can make lots of these toast appetizers at the same time. They will go soggy after a couple of hours so make them close to the time when they will be served, if you can. Alternatively serve the toppings on the side so people can assemble their own.
Recipe for Chicken Liver Pate on Melba Toast
You can make the melba toast for the following pate recipe earlier in the day if you like. Just warm it in a hot oven before you serve this easy appetizer recipe.
What you will need:
- 1 lb chicken livers
- 1 oz butter
- 12 bay leaves
- 5 slices bread
- 5 fl oz heavy cream
- 1 chopped clove garlic
- 2 1/2 fl oz dry sherry
- 24 black peppercorns
- Salt and pepper, to taste
How to make it:
Melt the butter in a skillet, then cook the garlic and livers over a moderate heat for about six minutes or until they are cooked but still a bit pink in the middle. Let them cool for five minutes, and then take them out of the skillet using a slotted spoon.
Puree them in a food processor, and then pour in the sherry and cream until the mixture is smooth. Season to taste. Spoon the pate into a big mold and top it with the peppercorns and bay leaves. Cover the mold and chill the pate.
Grill the bread on both sides until it is golden brown, then trim off the crusts and slice a knife through the center to make the melba toast. Cut each one into four triangles and broil until golden brown. Serve the melba toast with the pate and perhaps a glass of sherry.