Hors d’oeuvre are small dishes, either hot or cold, served at the beginning of the meal. They are designed to whet the appetite, so if the main course is a substantial one, choose a light and delicately flavoured hors d’oeuvre. If it is not, then a richer and more satisfying hors d’oeuvre can precede it. If the main course is cold, start the meal with a hot hors d’oeuvre and vice versa if it is a hot course.
Hors d’oeuvre may consist of fish, meat, eggs, fruit or vegetables and may be as simple or elaborate as you like.
There are two types of hors d’oeuvre – single and mixed. Single hors d’oeuvre are set at each place setting on individual plates. Some of the more popular single hors d’oeuvre are potted shrimps, caviar, pate, avocado, grapefruit and prawn cocktail.
Mixed hors d’oeuvrc consist of a variety of foods served in smaller dishes which may be arranged on a tray or set out on a large platter. Some popular mixed hors d’oeuvre are olives, gherkins, cocktail sausages, potato salad, asparagus tips and savoury rice. They may be accompanied by brown bread and butter, melba toast or crisp rolls.