When it comes to party appetizers, there is no fixed ratio of simple to sophisticated. Sometimes the most unadorned, barely manipulated little bites can seem hugely elegant; other times, you can fiddle with a complicated recipe for hours and end up with something that falls flat. These 11 recipes look and taste fancy, but are built on a bedrock foundation of laid-back summer ease.
1. Ratatouille Crostini with Pecorino
Everybody’s favorite sunny French vegetable stew takes on new stylishness when it’s reconfigured as a bright-tasting, colorful topping for baguette toasts. Shaved Pecorino cheese offers the perfect salty finish. Get our Ratatouille Crostini with Pecorino recipe.
2. Shrimp Ceviche
Ceviche is one of those perfectly passive things to make: Toss seafood with lime and other flavorings, and let it cure on its own. Spoon this bright-tasting shrimp ceviche on tortilla chips for a casual, high-style app. Get our Shrimp Ceviche recipe.
3. Warm Deviled Eggs
Cold, they’re a picnic staple, but warm—flavored with Provolone cheese, bacon, and fresh herbs—deviled eggs are a revelation, unimaginably luxurious, the very opposite of church-picnic homey. Get our Warm Deviled Eggs recipe.
4. Mini Cornbread Crab Cakes
Crumbled cornbread gives these crab cakes genuine down-home personality, not to mention a sweet flavor and nicely chewy texture. A dollop of spicy mayo finished them off. Get our Mini Cornbread Crab Cakes recipe.
5. Bacon-Cheddar Mini Quiches
Using frozen premade puff pastry makes these delicious little bites seem like more work than they are. The perfect bites to pass around with glasses of Champagne! Get our Bacon-Cheddar Mini Quiches recipe.
6. Chorizo and Olive Flatbread Squares
Spanish chorizo, fiery harissa, and bold-tasting oil-cured olives add up to the zestiest flatbread topping for a cocktail party. Get our Chorizo and Olive Flatbread Squares recipe.
7. Marinated Bocconcini
Especially for a summer hors d’oeuvres party, it’s best not to overthink. These simple, parsley, caper, and garlic–marinated fresh mozzarella balls are a delightful thing to find on the end of a skewer. Get our Marinated Bocconcini recipe.
8. Crispy Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus
This is fancy finger food, more substantial (and cool-looking) than your standard pick-up party food. Perfect for a garden party! Get our Crispy Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus recipe.
9. Serrano Ham and Membrillo Crostini
Smear toasted baguette slices with store-bought quince paste (a.k.a. membrillo), then top with crispy baked serrano ham, thinly sliced Manchego cheese, and a drizzle of mint oil. Get our Serrano Ham and Membrillo Crostini recipe.
10. Smoked Salmon–Caviar Cucumber Bites
This simple yet sophisticated recipe is practically foolproof: Just combine the ingredients in a food processor, pipe onto English cucumber rounds, and top with your favorite caviar. Get our Smoked Salmon–Caviar Cucumber Bites recipe.
11. Devils on Horseback
An irresistible British pub snack: salty, crunchy bacon and sweet, port-steeped prunes is a major crowd-pleaser, and simple to prepare. Get our Devils on Horseback recipe.