30 Sophisticated Starters

Photo: Frederic Lagrange

Start with the very best ingredients, add a polished presentation, and you've got a pre-dinner spread with serious sophistication.

01 of 26

Martha's Birthday Hors d'Oeuvres

Frederic Lagrange

Luxe ingredients, such as quail eggs with caviar, gravlax, and Gruyere, set a posh tone from the start.

02 of 26

Blini with Caviar


Why mess with a classic? Pair these Russian pancakes with creme fraiche and caviar.

03 of 26

Oysters with Serrano Chile, Avocado, and Cherry Tomatoes


Get the highest-quality ingredients possible to make a major impact.

04 of 26

Baked Brie with Pecans

David Loftus

Complement the cheese's gooey center with a sweet drizzle of maple syrup.

05 of 26

Shrimp Cocktail


Fresh shrimp will really make this classic sing, but flash-frozen can work in a pinch.

06 of 26

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs with Blue Cheese and Pecans


Wrapped snugly in salty, meaty blankets, these stuffed figs are always irresistible.

07 of 26

Salmon Mousse


Send a celebratory signal by serving up this lemon and sour-cream-infused mousse.

08 of 26

Gruyere-and-Parmesan Beignets


Delicate puffs of cheese-infused batter are perfect party bites.

09 of 26

Pears and Camembert

Anna Williams

Layers of cheese and nutty pear filling are as delicious as they are pretty.

10 of 26

Blue Cheese and Walnut Spread


Cream cheese creates luscious texture while letting the pungent cheese shine.

11 of 26

Lentil Pate

Kalyn Sims

A meatless alternative with the texture and richness of traditional pate.

12 of 26

Smoked Trout and Garlic Cream on Rye Toasts


These toasts look ultra fancy but come together in a flash.

13 of 26

Upside-Down Mushroom Tartlets


Set a thoughtful tone by greeting guests with individual tarts made in a muffin pan.

14 of 26

Mini Chicken B'Steeyas


Usually made as one large pie, mini versions of the Moroccan specialty are finger-food friendly and can be made ahead.

15 of 26

Pear Pecan Toasts


Thinly sliced Bartlett pears are a sweet foil to tangy Roquefort.

16 of 26

Cantaloupe and Mozzarella with Prosciutto and Basil


Pink, white, and orange paint a pretty picture on this antipasti platter.

17 of 26

Three-Cheese Gougeres

Johnny Miller

Expect three times the flavor in these savory puffs.

18 of 26

Daikon Radish Boxes with Crab Salad


Like mini gift boxes, these pristine cubes of radish hold delicious crab salad.

19 of 26

Cucumber Cups with Vichyssoise

Craig Cutler

Hollowed-out cucumbers become impressive vessels for creamy soup.

20 of 26

Fresh Radishes with Flavored Salts and Butter


Calm the veggie's bite with a bit of butter and a touch of salt.

21 of 26

Fried Olives


The crispy exterior yields to a warm, salty, addictive interior.

22 of 26

Stravecchio Frico


These frilly webs of cheese require only two ingredients.

23 of 26

Beet Chips

beet chips

Extra-thin beet slices become ruby-red rounds of flavor.

24 of 26

Endive Spears with Lobster, Avocado, and Grapefruit


Endives become mini boats to transport utterly upscale ingredients.

25 of 26

Spicy Tuna Tartare

Ken Kochey

The surprise? Sriracha gives this tartare its spicy edge.

26 of 26

Edible Serving Vessels


Nestle a blue cheese and walnut filling in grape cups, herbed goat cheese in cherry tomato cups, or gazpacho in cucumber cups for easy appetizer eating without messy fingers.

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