Gourmet Finger Food for the Perfect Picnic

From spring racing celebrations to picnic nibbles, these delicious finger-food recipes will add a dash of panache to your special occasions.

The Spring Racing Carnival signals the start of alfresco dining and thoughts turn to gourmet hampers and sparkling wine. Gone are the days of soggy sandwiches, dry meatloaf and lemonade. If you want to impress your family or friends, then follow RACV City Club Executive Chef Jason Camillo’s recipes for an assortment of delicious canapes.

Jason says his smoked trout blinis with Yarra Valley Caviar are perfect for special occasions.

“I would usually serve these for breakfast on Melbourne Cup day, before heading out to the big race,” he says. “I love using the Yarra Valley Caviar for that burst of saltiness and matching it with a great Aussie sparkling wine. My favourite at a good price would be the Grant Burge. “But if you want to really celebrate and upgrade, you can use Beluga or Oscietra caviar and substitute the Aussie sparkling for a French champagne, such as a good vintage of Dom Perignon.” 

Jason says the secret behind his chicken sandwiches is the use of a sweet Japanese mayonnaise.

“This is an amazing finger sandwich, which I have always related to afternoon tea during spring racing,” he says. “Delicious and moist, the secret is using Kewpie Mayonnaise.”

Kewpie Mayonnaise is usually available at Asian grocery stores or in the Asian aisle of your local supermarket.

Jason’s mini zucchini muffins include Meredith Goat Curd and dill, which makes them a cut above your usual savoury muffin.

 

Roast chicken racing sandwich

Serves: 4

Cooks in: 2.5 hours

Difficulty: easy

Ingredients

  • 250g chicken thighs
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp smoky paprika
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 60g Kewpie Mayonnaise
  • 2 eggs, boiled 8 minutes and cooled
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • ½ bunch chives, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 slices white bread

Method

  1. Marinate the chicken with olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper for 2 hours.
  2. Grill the chicken on a chargrill or barbecue until nicely caramelized. Reduce heat and cook through, about 72 degrees if you use a meat thermometer.
  3. Allow chicken to cool.
  4. Peel and roughly dice the boiled egg
  5. Roughly chop or shred the chicken and place in a bowl with mayonnaise, egg, lemon juice, lemon zest and chives. (You may not need to add all the lemon juice. You want the mixture to be creamy, but not runny.)
  6. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  8. Thickly spread the mixture onto the white sliced bread, making sure you spread the mixture right to the edge of the bread. Top with another slice of bread.
  9. Trim the crusts using a serrated bread knife, taking care not to squash the bread.
  10. Slice each sandwich into 2 or 3 finger sandwiches, depending on your preference.
  11. Eat immediately.

 

Smoked trout blinis with Yarra Valley Caviar

Serves: 4

Cooks in: 1.5 hours

Difficulty: intermediate

Ingredients

  • 12 blinis (recipe below)
  • 120g smoked trout
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 60g sour cream
  • ¼ bunch dill
  • 15g salmon roe

Ingredients for the blinis:

  • 7g fresh yeast (or ½ tsp of dried yeast, but fresh is better)
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 150g wholemeal flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt to taste
  • 50 grams butter

Method

  1. Roughly break up the trout, double checking for any pin bones that need to be removed.
  2. Finely chop half the dill
  3. Place ¾ of the sour cream, the chopped dill, the trout and the lemon zest and juice in a bowl and gently mix.
  4. Spoon a teaspoon of the trout onto each blini.
  5. Top the trout with a dollop of the remaining sour cream.
  6. Add a couple of pearls of salmon roe on top of the sour cream.
  7. Garnish each blini with a sprig of dill and serve on a nice plate or platter with a glass of sparkling or champagne.
  8. Eat immediately.

Method for the blinis:

  1. Mix the yeast with the lukewarm milk.
  2. Separate the egg yolk from the white.
  3. Mix the flour, egg yolk, salt and milk. Stir until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Whisk the egg white with the salt until a stiff peak is formed.
  5. Gently mix the egg white into the batter.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
  7. Using a non-stick pan, melt the butter over a low heat.
  8. Spoon the batter into the pan, making small rounds about the size of a 20-cent piece.
  9. Once bubbles begin to form flip the blinis over and cook for another minute.
  10. Remove from the pan and cool.

 

Mini zucchini muffins with Meredith Dairy Goat Curd and dill

Serves: 4

Cooks in: 1 hour

Difficulty: easy

Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 60ml full-cream milk
  • 1 egg
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 90g finely grated zucchini
  • 30g Meredith Dairy Goat Curd
  • ¼ bunch finely chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Use a mini muffin tin and fill the moulds with liners or brush with melted butter and flour.
  2. Finely grate the zucchini.
  3. In a pan, sweat off garlic and onions until transparent.
  4. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from the pan and place into a strainer. Squeeze out excess moisture. This is very important, otherwise you will have soggy muffins.
  6. Place all the dry Ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) into a large bowl.
  7. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, eggs and olive oil together. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  8. Fold in the drained grated zucchini, ¾ of finely chopped dill and the goat curd until evenly incorporated.
  9. Pour the batter into the muffin liners and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down on a cooling rack.
  10. You can pipe some extra goat’s curd on top and sprinkle with remaining chopped dill for garnish.

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