Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Lily Canapes

Like most Italian American families, our house at Easter time was a house of rejoicing! When I was very young, the menu at Easter always included Lamb's Head. I'm not sure what the Italian word for it was but I think my grandmother called it capuzzella. It saddens me to realize,that I never learned how to speak Italian. I understand Sicilian when it is spoken to me but I can't reply in Italian. Quite, honestly, I don't remember anything else about Easter dinner except for the capuzzella, asparagus and an Italian cheesecake made with I believe farina and hard boiled eggs. We never had anything "exotic" for everyday dinners and on most holidays, pasta in some form was usually the main dish. Whether it was lasagna, stuffed shells or gnocchi, we always prepared home made pasta for the holidays except, for Easter. As the oldest daughter in the family, the tradition of Easter dinner eventually stepped down to me. Trying to conserve the tradition, I taught both my son and daughter how to prepare home made pasta. I parted ways with the Lambs head in place of leg of lamb. But, lamb, in my humble opinion, doesn't agree with everyone. I sometimes think that the only reason it agrees with me is because, I was introduced to some unusual tastes when I was younger. 

This year, my younger sister will be hosting Easter dinner. I'm responsible for the rice balls. Now, Italian rice balls are not a traditional dish for our family on Easter. My sister has been asking me to make rice balls since Christmas and for some reason, I just haven't gotten around to it. I suppose she feels if she makes it a mandatory bring your own dish for Easter, she will finally get them. Maybe, maybe not.  I found this recipe for Easter Lily Canapes a few years ago in American Cookery Magazine. I have prepared these myself as a prelude to Easter dinner and they were quite successful. They also "plate up" quite nicely.

Easter Lily Canapes
2 oz. salmon paste
2 eggs, hard-boiled
3/4 tbs. butter
1/8 tsp. salt
pinch pepper
12-1/2" squares of bread
12-2" strips green pepper cut 1/8" long
1-3 1/2 oz. bottle cocktail onions
1-5 3/4 oz jar cocktail shrimp
Watercress garnish
1/2 cup butter melted
1 tsp. lime juice
Mince egg whites, mash yolks of eggs and mix to paste with butter, salt and pepper. Slice day old bread, remove crusts and spread with salmon paste. Shape like cone or lily. Use hors d' oeuvre sticks to hold shape until used. Fill partly with minced egg-white. Make small balls of the egg yolk mixture and place one ball in each cone. Use strips of green pepper for stems of lillies.

Make a nest of watercress in one corner of a tray and fill with cocktail onions. Make another nest of watercress in opposite corner of tray and fill with shrimps. Arrange croquette stars around outside edge of nests.

Serve a dish of hot sauce of melted butter, lime juice and peper in which to dip the shrimp. Arrange the lily canapes along the side of the tray and garnish with watercress. American Cookery Magazine April, 1939

Happy Easter!


  1. Happy Easter, Louise! Those Easter Lily Canapes sound like a masterpiece! Saw some beautiful, actual lillies today in Oyster Bay. Of course, they were in a greenhouse, because it's still a bit chilly here ...

  2. Quite a few years ago I was surprised to see lambs heads at my local Ralphs Grocery Store. They didn't look very big. I wouldn't have thought that they had enough meat for a family celebration.

  3. Happy Easter! T.W.
    Once again, thanks for visiting. I actually made hundreds of those canapes for a cookbook display I had many years ago at a local library here on Long Island. They were a huge success!

    I also patiently await the floral arrival of spring!

  4. Hi Rochelle,
    Thanks for visiting. Yes, they are usually a small delicacy and only one of the many dishes presented at our Easter dinner which usually lasts a couple of hours. The serving platters are continuously passed around with sometimes up to 10 or more additional dishes. (not including desserts!)


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise