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5 Tips for Fabulous Finger Food

Posted on December 19, 2013

It just happened to me two nights ago. I was at a celebration when I was introduced to my husband’s boss. As he extended his hand politely, I could not reciprocate as I was catching the other half of my “bite-sized” hors d’oeuvre as it spilled out of my mouth. The first thing I thought after recovering from my embarrassment was that there really is an art to creating fabulous finger food.

In addition to making little bites that taste delicious, it’s important to consider how they eat in real life situations. In other words, are you enabling problem free nibbling or is it a food fumble waiting to happen? Of course, the marriage of fun, function and flavor is what our 5 tips for fabulous finger foods are all about.

Size Matters: Finger foods that will be passed around at parties should be bite sized. That means no more than 2-inches big. Mini meatballs or sliders are perfect when they can be picked up either with your fingers or a toothpick and eaten in two bites. Any more and you’ve got your hands full.

Keep ’em Clean: Of course you’ll circulate cocktail napkins with your nibbles, but as a courtesy to your guests, offer food that comes in its own neat little package. Fill small lettuce leaves with spicy Thai chicken or bake mini empanadas using prepared pizza or pastry dough to enclose the saucy filling.

Stay on Top of It: Crostini, chips and crackers are the perfect vehicles for a variety of toppings. The trick is making sure they stay that way. When overfilled, even the most delicious filling becomes problematic as it dribbles off of its ride and onto the floor. Avoid that issue by choosing the less is more approach when it comes to serving that chicken salad on potato chips, tomato bruschetta or chicken nacho bites.

Stick To It: Otherwise impossible-to-eat foods like marinated chicken, grilled veggies and even tofu become perfect party fare when pierced with a bamboo skewer. Create chicken sate or kebabs and serve with a spicy peanut or sesame soy sauce. Just make sure to collect empty skewers shortly after they’re served to prevent party clutter.

Make ’em Feel Good: Make sure the temperature of your finger foods is hot enough that they taste appetizing, but cool enough that they can be handled and eaten on the spot. No one wants guests biting into their mini chicken tamales only to have piping hot cheese burn their palates.