Give me your best savory finger food recipes, please. Celiac edition.
December 26, 2013 1:17 PM   Subscribe

I've volunteered to bring some finger foods to a small New Year's Eve party of other adults who are, let's be honest, more serious foodies and better chefs than I am. One guest has Celiac disease, which eliminates the sorts of things I normally make - like little quiches/tarts, spanikopita, or cheese puffs - when I want to impress. Popping them in the oven to cook or reheat, or transporting them hot, is not a problem.
posted by DrGail to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Can you make your quiche crustless? I do that all the time.
posted by sio42 at 1:24 PM on December 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

I've got this. I make little puff pastries - I think it is called pat a choux - you know the thing you make by cooking flour in butter and then I think you take it off the heat to add a bunch of eggs and then people usually put it in a muffin tin and make little bowls but I put little spoonfuls on a baking sheet so they are bite size. I use brown rice flour. So I bake them and then let them cool a little and I top them with a mixture of salmon and yogurt and chopped green onions. then sprinkle some chopped green onions on top for garnish.
posted by cda at 1:25 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bacon wrapped anything...asparagus, non breaded small pieces of chicken
posted by sio42 at 1:26 PM on December 26, 2013

Roasted/grilled vedgatables with nice olive oil and pecorino.
Also figs with pecorino.
Meatballs (no breadcrumbs)
Cherry Tomato/ Basil / Mozerella Balls on toothpicks
Nachos and homemade salsa / guacamole
Nachos and artichoke heart dip
Nice cheese plate - per cut with GF crackers
posted by jazh at 1:26 PM on December 26, 2013


Caramelized Spiced Nuts!
posted by janey47 at 1:28 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Frittata (Spanish tortilla) cut into pieces served with toothpicks
Chicken wings
posted by jazh at 1:29 PM on December 26, 2013

FYI - a lot of tortilla chips contain wheat flour and corn so make sure to read ingredients.
posted by sio42 at 1:30 PM on December 26, 2013

- Prosciutto wrapped around a cube of blue cheese and half a fig; pop them under the broiler for a couple of minutes and serve.
- Endive spears topped with blue cheese, walnuts, and honey.
- pickled grapes
posted by Kololo at 1:30 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

You are very nice to be concerned and willing to accommodate special needs.
I have no useful culinary advice. But here are some tips from a sensitive eater:

- Make a card that says "Gluten-free potato puffs" and list all the ingredients. Put the card on the plate.
- This may seem like like over-kill, but it's good to include brand names in your list of ingredients. "Soy sauce" probably contains wheat. "Kikkoman gluten-free soy sauce" is safe.
- A gluten-free platter should have its own dedicated serving utensil.
- If you use prepared meats, sausage, bacon, make sure they're marked gluten-free. Some of the common additives (maltodextrin, etc) can cause problems.

I hate to say this, but don't make homemade pastry. GF pastry, cookies, breads, need to be made on dedicated GF equipment. Your mixer, sifter, rolling pin, etc, have traces of wheat. This is no joke.

Simple items that can be identified by the eye are best. Fruit chunks on toothpicks with a GF dipping sauce. Cheese. Plain nuts. Smoked salmon.
posted by valannc at 1:49 PM on December 26, 2013 [11 favorites]

Dolmades? Stuffed mushrooms? Egg salad piped into chunks of cucumber that have been made into 'cups' with a melon baller? Ploughman's lunch, minus the bread, on a skewer?
posted by kmennie at 1:50 PM on December 26, 2013

I have a friend that bakes traditional Tahini Sauce inside Mushroom Caps - holy Toledo is it awesome!!!
posted by jbenben at 2:03 PM on December 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Cucumber hors d’oeuvres
Cucumber cut on the diagonal or flower cups:
or rolls:

Some ideas we came up with last weekend -- plus notes count votes among other friends:
Smoked salmon, boursin and dill +2
Smoked trout, sour cream and salsa verde +1
Guacamole deviled egg, chives and olives +3
Goat cheese and pickled radish
Crab salad and celery leaf +2
Shrimp with cocktail sauce, parsley and lemon zest +3
Guacamole with thin ribbon of roasted red pepper +2
Goat cheese, raspberry and mint +1
Tzatziki yogurt with gyro lamb slices and mint +4
Horseradish cream sauce with beef +2
Creamed feta with Greek dressing, lemon zest, oregano, slivered red onion and oil-cured olives +2
Pesto cream cheese, flaked parmesan and sun-dried tomato
Watermelon with feta and balsamic dressing
Mandarin orange with goat cheese, fennel and black sesame seeds +2
Curry mayonnaise, roast chicken and scallions +4
Mango, crab and wasabi mayonnaise +2
Pesto mayonnaise, spinach tortellini and roasted red pepper +1
Sesame soba noodles, scallions and black sesame seeds +2
Tonno, lemon zest and capers
Prosciutto roses and boursin
Gazpacho-filled cucumber cup +1
Sour cream, chives and bacon
Blue cheese dressing, hot pepper sauce, celery and chicken +3
Garlic hummus with roasted red pepper +1
Spicy olive and caper tapenade

Some of these might work well for you. Bonus, delicious, healthy and no oven time needed.
posted by vers at 2:28 PM on December 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Agree with all of above. My aunt can have things made in a kitchen contaminated by gluten, but not everyone can. Watch out for non-obvious gluten in any prepared food though - anything with flavourings dusted on (e.g., doritos) often contains wheat flour. Some coeliacs avoid oats due to cross-contamination issues, some are allergic to a related protein found in oats, so best to avoid. Most prepared meat products in the UK contain gluten as part of the fillers. Soy sauce is a common one to overlook.

The recipes I make for my aunt are tricky because she is also a vegetarian. We have had some success with gluten free savoury pastry, but it can go a bit hard.

What about sushi - maki rolls should be inherently gluten free, and can be a good way to get carbs in a buffet where otherwise everything is unsafe for coeliacs to eat. If you go for more Korean style gimbap then the fillings can be anything from omelette to beef to cheese.

Otherwise maybe a salad based on potato or sweet potato with your own salad dressing (check all ingredients).

If you use a marinade or a spice rub, don't forget to check the ingredients.
posted by kadia_a at 2:31 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Prosciutto with arugula, Gorgonzola, pine nuts and currants was a big hit at my last party.
posted by munchingzombie at 3:39 PM on December 26, 2013

Water chestnuts wrapped in bacon--I haven't made this, but I had it once and it was surprising and amazing.

Dates stuffed with goat cheese, sprinkled with sesame seeds and with a little bit of red pepper jelly. (If you don't have red pepper jelly, something else that provides a bit of zip and some moistness.)
posted by snorkmaiden at 3:42 PM on December 26, 2013

I'm Celiac and thank you for the effort.

Roll ups: use Romaine or other green with a good spine, slather on the egg salad or humus or tuna or cheese spread or whatever, roll it up, then slice perpendicular to the spine to make 1-inch high mouthfuls.

Cuke slices make good substitutes for crackers

You can carve cracker-style canoes out of sweet bell peppers

Drinking: beer is out (and GF beer is generally loathsome). Genuine cider is nice (no malt beverage, just apple juice), wine, or some of the harder liquors. There's some disputation as to which hard liquors are OK. Avoid any grains and you're golden: vodka, grappa, rum are good.
posted by Jesse the K at 3:47 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Gluten-free flour (commercial mixes) are great and make the shortest short-crust pastry you've ever seen. Bake a base (there's usually a good recipe on the box) and top with something nice - the beauty of this being it can answer several food requirements at one go (celiac, vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerant etc)

I often do caramelized onion, thyme and goat-cheese as a big flan and then cut it into little squares to nibble. It's simple, you can make ahead, and good hot or cold.
posted by ninazer0 at 4:02 PM on December 26, 2013

Raw oysters on the half shell. (I was totally delighted when my daughter, age six, laughed hysterically at the GF designation on a menu next to the oyster selection.) So perfect for NYE, so delicious, and so easy.
posted by Capri at 5:33 PM on December 26, 2013

Profiteroles can be made, if slightly less puffy (but only slightly) by substituting chickpea flour. The nutty flavour is really nice. Might go well with say a wild mushroom mousse inside.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:44 PM on December 26, 2013

Breton now makes really good gluten free crackers. The plain are so good that I'd eat them even if I wasn't gluten free (not a fan of the garlic/herb ones though). They aren't the same as the regular ones in texture or flavour, but they beat all of the competitors hands down. Then you can use them anywhere you'd use bread, crackers, pita, etc.

Best thing for me right now (and seasonal!) is some really good English cheddar, a slice of apple (fuji or pink lady or whatever is in season right now where you are) and a breton cracker.

Otherwise, I agree that having a label with ingredients or something that says GF on it is the only way I feel safe eating something at parties.
posted by guster4lovers at 9:13 PM on December 26, 2013

Please be prepared for the person with celiac disease to say "Thank you, but no thanks" to whatever you make. There are so so many potential sources of gluten (e.g. caramel color, blue cheese, some yeast extracts) that I just don't trust food coming out of kitchens where people don't have a lot of experience. (And the suggestion of sushi rolls above? Be careful - many seaweed wraps are cured in soysauce and not adequately disclosed.) Not to mention that nonstick coating, plastic, wood and cast iron all hold onto gluten so even if all the ingredients are OK, I can still get glutened. Most of the time, I just prefer to bring my own and not have anyone go out of their way. (Because boy do I feel guilty if someone has gone out of their way for me since I won't feel comfortable eating it. But I'm still not going to eat it and risk getting sick. Because I'll probably get sick.)

If you're really dedicated to making something that this person will FOR SURE eat - go really simple and definitely don't bake. Nut mixes, fruit platters, chips and salsa, and chocolates are all decent choices.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:53 AM on December 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

As mentioned above, gluten is in all sorts of things you may not realize, including nori, soy sauce, blue cheese, some dairy (you may need to look up cheeses, yogurts, sour cream, chocolate milk and other stuff you'd think would be okay), natural flavouring, colour, etc.

If you make something like meatballs, put parchment paper down before you bake them. Make sure you use gluten free spices (many are not). Skip the breadcrumbs.

We encourage friends to use prepackaged marked gluten free foods, so that we know they are safe. To reduce cross contamination, you can either put up a little sign reminding people not to share utensils between dishes or else set the food aside first.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 11:14 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

This has been quite an education about preparing food for a Celiac and I'm grateful for the advice. I'm leaning toward something like stuffed jalapenos, but I'll clear it with her in advance of the party. Thanks everyone!
posted by DrGail at 6:53 PM on December 27, 2013

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