Are you tired of tossing the same old corn chips onto the table with a bowl of store-bought salsa? If so, read on: finger food has come a long way since the days of “pigs in blankets” and pimento-stuffed olives, and some of the most impressive and tastiest dishes are the easiest to make!
Ribs: Baked, not barbecued
Bruce Aidell, author of The Complete Meat Cookbook, suggest ribs as the number-one finger food for family night. “Most people think of ribs as a barbecue item,” Aidell says, “but in all of my cookbooks, the ribs are roasted in the oven — and it’s the variety in seasoning that gives them their flavour.”?? This recipe from Aidell’s cookbook, The Complete Book of Pork, serves 6.
- 1 tbs. salt
- 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tbs. chopped fresh sage
- 1.5 tbs. fennel seeds
- 2 tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 2 cups water
- 2 slabs regular spareribs, or 3 slabs back ribs
- In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together except the water and ribs.
- Generously pat the mixture onto both sides of the ribs. Let sit at room temperature for two hours, or wrap the ribs in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
- When you’re ready to cook the ribs, pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C.
- Put each slab of ribs fat-side up in a large [25 x 35cm] baking dish.
- Add 1 cup water into each dish and cover with foil. Cook for 1-1/2 hours and remove the foil.
- Increase the heat to 190 degrees C and continue to cook uncovered for a further 30 minutes, or until the rib meat pulls away from the bone.
- Remove the ribs from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut between the ribs and serve immediately.
Barbara Seelig-Brown is a New York City chef, cooking show host and spokesperson for Honeysuckle White® Turkey. For a fresh twist on a classic finger food, she takes nachos to the next level by adding turkey to the traditional Mexican dish, which makes them more substantial and filling. This recipe serves 6.
- 250g shredded ground turkey meat
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
- 1 bag (200g) corn tortilla chips
- 1 can (400g) refried beans
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup guacamole
- 1/2 cup black olives
- 1 jar jalapeno peppers
- 1 cup salsa
- 1 cup sour cream
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
- In a frying pan, combine ground turkey, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until turkey is no longer pink, or approximately four minutes. Set aside.
- Place tortillas on baking sheet.
- Warm beans on the stove-top and place on top of the corn chips.
- Top with turkey mixture and grated cheese.
- Bake for approximately five minutes, or until cheese melts.
- Add as many toppings as you like, including diced tomatoes, guacamole, black olives and jalapenos. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
Pineapple chicken wings
A long-time favourite in the finger food category, chicken wings are that double whammy: they’re cheap and convenient. But why settle for the typical teriyaki or standard spicy when you can whip up a much more interesting combination? This recipe, created by chef Robert McGrath in Phoenix, Arizona, serves 6.
- 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbs. habanero sauce
- A pinch salt
- Vegetable oil
- 2 dozen chicken wings
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- Combine the crushed pineapple, mayonnaise, habanero sauce and salt in a bowl, and whisk until smooth.
- Preheat vegetable oil in fry pan at a medium-high heat.
- Remove and discard wing tips from wings. Separate each wing into two pieces at the joint; trim excess fat and skin.
- Toss chicken wings in a bowl with flour.
- Fry wings for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- Toss wings with desired amount of pineapple-habanero wing sauce and serve – with plenty of paper napkins!