France, the foodie’s paradise. It’s no wonder the country has some of the widest range of main courses and appetizers. Delectable and simple to make, French appetizers, in particular, should be a major feature of entertainment on vacation or a laidback party. And being a single-bite treat, they do not take an entire day to make. So, you’ll have enough time to relax and mingle with your visitors.
The treats we are featuring in this post have various flavors, from herby and buttery, to cheesy ones. So here are some of the most common French appetizers:
Smoked Salmon Canapes
You’ll have no problem making smoked Salmon canapes if you choose to lit up your dinner festivity. Even though you’ll be through making this appetizer in under 10 minutes, it comes out elegant. What you have to do is take some cream cheese and spread it off with a little piece of smoked salmon. Then add pepper and salt to taste and a sprinkle of lemon juice. This appetizer is best served with sparkling wine.
Finding a Socca on the menu of a Parisian restaurant can be difficult. Still, it is common in Provence and the southern part of the country. This flatbread made with chickpea flour has its origins in Nice. Socca is not hard to make; a small quantity of salt and pepper, olive oil, and chicken flour would be enough to prepare the magic. This appetizer is thinner than naan but thicker than a tortilla. You can enjoy it like that or dip it into a bowl of hot soup.
Huitres – Oysters
Oyster is another classic French appetizer, especially if you want to add some spark to your party. In France, fresh oysters aren’t often cooked but served as they are. Oysters are a Christmas staple in the country. The most difficult part about serving oysters is opening the shell. But as soon as this is done, squeeze a little lemon on them and serve. Make sure you get your oysters from a good fish market, so you’ll be getting quality huitres.
Alsatian Cheese Tart
The Alsatian cheese tart bursts with creamy, cheesy, and smoky flavors. This treat might look like a lot of work went into it, but it’s a cinch to make. You’ll merely need to roll out the pastry, scatter the toppings, spread the cheese mixture, and bake. The end product looks like pizza, but the puff pastry is lighter. Making an Alsatian cheese tart is also a perfect fix for your pizza craving when there’s no dough.
Tartine de Fromage Blanc
It originates from northern France. Fromage blanc is a light cheese to have any time. It can be spread across little pieces of toast. In French, tartine means “spread”. But there is a slight dilemma- fromage blanc (white cheese) or fromage frais (fresh cheese)- which one is to be used? Fromage frais is a little more like yogurt, and fromage blanc is more like cream cheese.
Escargots are an absolute delight. Often served drenched in pesto and garlic butter, the small balls of meat go down with ease. And with a baguette to sop up the buttery sauce, it makes for a nice appetizer. Similar to the foie gras and fromage blanc, it can be found prepared at fine grocery stores.
Lyonnaise salad is full of protein and nutrients and is flavored with tasty vinaigrette dressing. Mix Dijon mustard, shallots, bacon fat, vinegar, and olive oil, and you will get this nippy, vibrant dressing. Mix with bacon strips and lettuce, then top with a poached egg. Because you will want to soak up the dressing and running yolk, serve with some baguette slices.
Jambon Rouleaux de Chevre
Jambon rouleaux de chevre is the fit if you don’t like cooking. Jambon is the translation for ham and rouleaux de chevre means rolls of goat. Each French region prepares its own dry-cured ham. So, you can step outside of your comfort zone and explore these specialties. You can take any type of ham like prosciutto or Jambon de Bayonne and wrap it around a small bite-sized ball of goat cheese with a toothpick to fasten it.
Zucchini rolls are good variants on the Jambon rolls. Courgette means zucchini. Cut the zucchini into long strips and bake for 10 minutes in the oven with a touch of olive oil. As soon as it is done, add small cream cheese or heavy cream before wrapping the zucchini around different ingredients like smoked tuna, smoked salmon, or cured ham.
Cake Salée – Savory Cake
This is not sweet, but a savory cake in French salée means salty. With young Parisians, this cake tends to be a staple at apéro hour since they are simple to make in advance and convey if you are having a get-together. Cake salée is also great as a finger food because people can directly pick it up and eat it. You can make this time of cake in many varieties as you want, from olives, spinach, and bacon to cheese and a lot more.
Brochettes Parme Melon
In English, brochette means skewer, as in the long thin stick that you spear through many foods, like when you’re making a barbeque. While there are no barbeques here, this hors d’oeuvre is a cocktail variant of another well-known French starter known as the Melon au Porto. Slice the melon into cubes and alternate on the skewer with a ball of goat cheese and a little small fine dry-cured ham.
Charcuterie and Cheese Platter
Charcuterie and cheese platter aren’t an appetizer per se, but since it is so popular, it had to make its way to the list. If you are serving a cheese and meat board at your apéro in France, it is not often followed by the main meal. Charcuterie and cheese platter is both the casual party platter and the main meal itself. It is served with a bit of wine and different types of cured hams and cured hams.
Brie fondant au Pesto
This appetizer is translated as melted brie with pesto and is a cheese from the old French area of Brie. Today, Brie is called Seine-et-Marne and is one of the major departmental suburbs encircling Paris. Put the brie cheese in a baking dish. Then spread some spoonfuls of pesto over it. Garnish with pine nuts if you have some, then add some pepper and place in the oven for around 15 minutes.
This is a popular Provencal appetizer. Pissaladiere, like the Alsatian cheese tart, resembles pizza. But pissaladiere uses strong white bread flour for the dough, and this is the difference. Toppings include anchovies, caramelized onions, olives, tomatoes, and thyme. Pissaladiere is best served with a fresh green salad.
Saint-Jacques au Concombre
There are many ways to serve Coquille St. Jacques, either as a starter or an hors d’oeuvre. However, for a party, Saint-Jacques au concombre (cucumber) is an easy one. Cook both surfaces of the scallops on a pan in some butter for 4 minutes with a pinch of salt. Then cut the cucumber into round slices and top each one with a scallop.
Camembert is a tender cheese from Normandy. This appetizer is easy to make. Remove the wooden box it comes with and take off the plastic wrap too. Then cook in the oven for a quarter of an hour. If you like, add sweet toppings like honey or fig jam or savory ones like chili and pesto flakes.
Mini-Croque monsieur is an upgrade to a ham and cheese sandwich with a tasty Béchamel sauce. It is a common dish in France ad very easy to make. All it takes is some baking and layering.
Best and Most Common French Appetizers – Summary
The great appetizers are those that are easy to make and that you can serve and savor with your guests or loved ones. Whether your get-together is in Paris or somewhere else, you are not meant to be cooking in the kitchen on an evening apéro. These French appetizers are decadent, rich, and sure to please.