This recipe has been in my repertoire since 2010 when I stumbled across it in Saveur. That these are called canapés is so "lah-di-dah". Really, you can make these for company, or use the filling in fancy tea sandwiches, or just have them for lunch. The tuna filling can even be used in a hearty sandwich with lettuce or your other favourite sandwich garnishes. (And I'm happy for any excuse to use mango chutney and curry!)
The recipe name sent me down a rabbit hole reading about canapés. Wikipedia says they are a type of hors d’œuvre. I'll admit to my ignorance that there are "types" of hors d'œuvres, yet I couldn't find a "lah-di-dah" list of what the other categories might be. Wikipedia does list what they consider to be the most notable appetizers, starters, and goes on to say that hors d'oeuvre means "outside the work"—that is, "not part of the ordinary set of courses in a meal". [Source] Not to be confused, I guess, with an amuse bouche that aims to amuse your mouth in readiness for a sit down meal.
I suppose "sitting down" is a consideration. Be they canapés or hors d'œuvres, they better be small mouthfuls that we can easily pick up and balance on a cocktail napkin if we're eating them standing up. The irony of "standing up"? Seems that the word canapé "comes from the French word for sofa, drawing on the analogy that the garnish sits atop the bread as people do a couch." [Source]
Because of the melted cheese, these do not do well as a "make ahead". You can prep the filling, but you'll be assembling them and broiling them at the last minute. (See my tips below about avoding soggy bread.)
What you'll need:
- Bread (how much): The original recipe calls for 2 slices of white bread for two servings. Perhaps because of the size of my tuna can, or because of the amount of filling I put on each piece of bread, I find the filling can make enough appetizers for about four people, four slices of bread..
- Bread (type): Decisions about the type of bread you use and serving size will be guided by whether your "event" is lunch or "party". Nonetheless, I have never used white bread as the recipe suggests. (Not even sure what they meant by that. Surely not yucky sandwich bread? Is a nice sour dough considered to be "white bread"?)
- Tuna: the recipe suggests using a can of tuna that is 5 oz / 141 g (before it is drained) for 2 servings. The standard can of solid white tuna in water available to me is 184 g (133 g once drained). That makes enough filling for two hearty sandwiches, but for canapés, nice amounts on pieces of toast yields much more than two servings.
- Mango Chutney: should be easy to find; if the 1 TB you use for the recipe has a big chunk then chop it up a bit
2-3 TB mayonnaise
1.5 TB raisins (I use currants)
1 TB. mango chutney
1⁄2 tsp curry powder (try my recipe)
1 can tuna, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
See Notes about canned tuna above.
Combine mayonnaise, raisins/currants, chutney, curry, and tuna in a bowl and season with salt and pepper; set aside.
(This is a great filling you can even use for everyday sandwiches.)
2-4 slices bread, crusts removed
2-4 thin, square slices cheddar cheese
Fresh chives, optional
Heat the oven to broil and arrange a rack 10" from heating element. Cut each slice of bread and cheese into 4 triangles (or other shapes if you prefer).
The original recipe suggests you spoon the tuna filling on top of the bread pieces, top with cheese and broil. But read on to see what can happen.
Breads may vary in moisture content, but if you put those bread slices right onto a cookie sheet you may end up with nicely melted cheese, on a warm filling and bread so soggy that it is floppy when you try to pick up that cute little triangle. Try this instead. Use a cooling rack on a cookie sheet or sheet pan. The space underneath the bread let's the moisture escape. As an alternative you could use the cooling rack / sheet pan to toast one side of the bread first, then turn over each piece of bread, top with the tuna filling and cheese and broil - even better.
Broil triangles 10" from the heating element until cheese is melted, 3–4 minutes. Serve garnished with chives. (The photo accompanying the original recipe shows one chive piece - so odd. Even if you chop them up, they may not "stick" to the cheese if you wait too long after removing them from the oven. If they don't stick, they tend to roll off as soon as your guests pick them up. Keep in mind - use of chives as a garnish is optional.)