I've always thought champagne was ok, but never really sought out to get it. I always found it to be too sweet. So as a rule I never drank it unless there was a toast at a wedding or some other special occassion. It was usually sparkling wine, not champagne.
It wasn't until later in life that I discovered what good champagne really tasted like. Mmmmm. Not to sweet, smooth and lovely little tickley bubbles! Recently, I had the opportunity to be invited to a little doing where champagne was going to be served. I asked if I could bring the appetizers and my offer was accepted. So now I was faced with what do I make that is good with champagne? So I went on a an internet search for "appetizers for champagne" and got several results.
Most of the recipes I saw were too high in calories so I didn't want to make them. Braunschweiger, fois gras (whole, cooked duck or goose liver) brie, raw oysters, shrimp, sushi. Just didn't feel like making any of those.
Then I ran across a forum where someone mentioned that cocktail onions, pickles and cheese were good together with champagne. There was no recipe but it reminded me of a dish I once had called raclette http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raclette It's melty cheese with cocktail onions, gherkins and boiled potatoes. I know. It sounds really strange. But it was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I didn't even know I liked cocktail onions. I thought they would be strong and sharp, but in fact they were sweet with a very mild onion flavor. So I decided to make little these little hors de oeuvres. I call them
Raclette Hors de Oeuvres
(these can be made 1 day ahead of time)
For about 12 pieces:
1 jar of cocktail onions
4 gherkins (tiny sweet pickles) each cut into three pieces, four if they are a little larger
12 oz chunk of Parmesan cheese
Cut the Parmesan Cheese into cubes a little bigger than the pieces of pickles after they are cut up.
On cocktail picks, put one cocktail onion, one piece of pickle, and last, the cube of cheese. Keep the cheese from touching the pickle unless you are eating these right away. You wouldn't want the cheese to get mushy from the moisture of the pickle.
I made 4 pieces for each of us. That was plenty because I also made
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
(not my photo)
12 large mushrooms
2 T olive oil
Remove the stems from the mushrooms, and rub the caps with olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake on 300 degrees for about 10 minutes. Shake out the excess liquid that has accumulated in the caps.
Alternatively you can put the caps in a large skillet and let them cook on low/med heat until the liquid accumulates in the caps. Then discard that liquid. It's important to get all that liquid out of the caps before you stuff them or your finished caps will be too wet and swimming in liquid.
Prepare the filling while the caps cool.
(Makes more filling than you need for 12 caps)
1 lb crab meat
1 8 oz. low fat cream cheese, softened to room temp, or put in mic for 15 seconds
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper (optional)
1 dash worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 c. unseasoned breadcrumbs
Mix all ingredients except crab together and blend well. Then add the crab and mix until blended, trying not to make total mush out of the crab.
Spoon a big dollop of filling into each mushroom cap and place on a baking sheet covered with foil or in a low sided casserole dish, lightly oiled, to prevent sticking.
If desired, add a little more grated cheddar to the top of each mushroom.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving - they will be very hot.
Serve both appetizers with your favorite champagne. If your pocketbook won't allow a bottle of Moet or Chandon, try some Proseco - a less expensive Italian sparkling white wine which is very tasty. If you don't do champagne at all, a nice white wine like a Pinot Grigio would be nice too.