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Creamed olives, tomato, and arugula artisanal toast

Canapés are amongst my favorite hors d'oeuvres, always packed with flavor, infinite varieties and fun. Canapés are an open canvas for a good chef, it is their opportunity to play with ingredients and create unique and amazing combinations.

This very simple recipe is highlights that concept. Creamy cheese packed with tangy olives and bitter greens is topped with pine nuts and tomatoes for freshness. I used arugula in this instance, but you can use any bitter green, kale (slightly blanched), dandelion greens (slightly blanched), fresh fenugreek (raw) or other bitter greens as available. In addition, the base can be any hearty bread of your choice or even crackers. This canapé is beautiful on the palate, the contrasting flavors come together well, tart, bitter and nutty with that crunch of toast.

This is my favorite canapé book, it is a small beautiful cookbook filled with wonderful recipes from a chef who understands the art of composing these perfect bites. The recipes are quite simple, but always pop with flavor and the photographs are stunning (trying to get there myself). If there is one canapé book on your shelf, this should be it.

For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.

Photo credit: Nisha Bilgrami


1/2 cup pitted green olives, finely minced

1 cup cream cheese

2 tablespoons EVOO

A handful arugula, finely sliced

1 teaspoon white pepper

Salt, if needed

4-5 slices country bread, toasted

Cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted

Mix together the olives, cream cheese, olive oil, most of the arugula (keep some for garnish), pepper and salt till well blended. Taste and adjust for salt and other flavorings. The cheese should be tangy from the olives and with a touch of spice from the white pepper.

Layer the cream cheese mix on the toast and decorate with the tomatoes, remaining arugula and the pine nuts.

Serve immediately.

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