Miss Galindo’s Canape

I love the concept of the canape. All the fla­vours of an entire plate­ful, heaped extra­vag­antly into one per­fect mouth­ful. But I’ve just dis­covered some­thing I love as much as the canape, and that’s the deriv­a­tion of the word. Canape was coined in 18th cen­tury France  and means ‘sofa’ — a wel­com­ing, capa­cious, invit­ing seat on which to place a host of con­vivi­al part­ners. The per­fect descrip­tion of the best kind of canape, in oth­er words. I haven’t enjoyed a word so much since I dis­covered ses­qui­ped­ali­an — a very long word which means a very long word.

Idle thoughts about sofas took me to Eliza­beth Gaskell, the Vic­tori­an nov­el­ist and bio­graph­er of Char­lotte Bronte. In 1859 Mrs Gaskell com­bined a group of stor­ies under the col­lect­ive title Round the Sofa. Char­ac­ters gath­er around the sofa of Mrs. Dawson to hear her account of Lady Lud­low. The sub­sequent story of the Count­ess, her feck­less son Lord Sep­timus and her loy­al com­pan­ion Miss Galindo became one of the most com­pel­ling strands of the bril­liant BBC tele­vi­sion adapt­a­tion of Mrs Gaskell’s work, Cran­ford.

This is the canape I’ve devised in hon­our of Miss Galindo, the spin­ster daugh­ter of a Bar­on­et. In Mrs Gaskell’s story she struggles uncom­plain­ingly to sup­port her­self and I figured it was time she was treated to a little lux­ury. So in trib­ute to the vali­ant Miss Galindo, here’s an edible sofa to enjoy while sit­ting on a sofa, read­ing Round the Sofa.


  • 500 g Jer­u­s­alem artichokes, scrubbed but unpeeled
  • 200 g fresh scal­lops
  • A little lem­on juice
  • 1 large knob but­ter
  • 100 ml single cream
  • 200 ml ground­nut oil
  • Season­ing
  • A few fresh thyme leaves
  • Around 6 slices pan­cetta

Reserve one large, evenly shaped artichoke — put the oth­ers to one side to use for the pur­ee. Slice the reserved artichoke very finely with a man­dolin. As you slice, place the pieces in a bowl of water which has been acid­u­lated with lem­on juice. The lem­on will stop the artichoke from dis­col­our­ing.

Dry the artichoke slices. Heat the ground­nut oil in a pan until very hot — it should be about 1.5 cm deep. Test the tem­per­at­ure by put­ting a cube of bread into the oil and check­ing that it fries crisply.  Lower the artichoke slices care­fully into the oil for around two minutes until crisp and brown. Remove from the oil and place them on kit­chen paper while you pre­pare the oth­er ingredi­ents. (The crisps are deli­cious on their own, with a little sea salt, but you want to end up with enough crisps to part­ner the scal­lops, so count care­fully.)

Bring the remain­ing artichokes to a sim­mer in a pan of salted water and cook until soft.
Pur­ee the cooked artichokes, along with the but­ter and cream. Sea­son to taste and keep warm.

Fry the pan­cetta until crisp and remove from pan. Using the same pan, add a little olive oil and fry the scal­lops for a couple of minutes each side, until golden. Don’t over­cook them or they will become tough.

Assemble your sofas by heap­ing a tea­spoon of pur­ee on a crisp, pla­cing a gen­er­ous shard of pan­cetta on top and crown­ing with a thyme-topped scal­lop. Squeeze a few drops of lem­on over the scal­lops if so inclined. Eat imme­di­ately — no-one likes a soggy sofa.

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18 thoughts on “Miss Galindo’s Canape

  1. Fas­cin­at­ing com­bin­a­tions, look gor­geous (as do the pho­tos as ever). I think these canapés would dis­ap­pear in a flash at any party — and I had no idea of the ori­gin of the word. This post ticks abso­lutely all the boxes.

    • Thank you very much indeed, Jakey for your lovely com­ment — so much appre­ci­ated. I’m glad you enjoyed the word.

  2. Oh yum, those canapes look dev­ine. I love dis­cov­er­ing new words, and try to insert them into con­ver­sa­tions as much as pos­sible. I espe­cially enjoy say­ing ‘pro­pri­et­or­i­al’. There­fore, I hope you are not too pro­pri­at­ori­al about your canapes, as I would love to have one!

    • I agree, Lynne — pro­pri­et­or­i­al is a great word choice. And do please, help your­self! Thanks for stop­ping by.

  3. Sink­ing into a sofa right now…so can you pass one over please! I didn’t know the ori­gin of Cran­ford and must admit to not hav­ing read any Mrs Gaskell. This will have to be rectified…with canapes on hand. Lovely post, pics and recipe as always.

    • Thank you very much, Sally — lovely of you. If you’re tight on time to read Mrs Gaskell, try the BBC adapt­a­tion instead. It takes liber­ties with the text and cobbles all sorts of Mrs Gaskell frag­ments togeth­er, but it’s beau­ti­fully done.

    • Thank you for leav­ing a com­ment — it really means a lot. I hope your guests enjoy the canapes. I think they’re the per­fect food — small, port­able, no cut­lery and lovely look­ing.

    • The plates come from the Drome area of France and were made by a pot­ter that my sis­ter intro­duced me to. I com­pletely agree with you about their beauty. Thanks so much for leav­ing your com­ment — it’s always a treat

  4. I think that one reas­on we get along so per­fectly and that I love you and your blog so much is that we are both pas­sion­ate word lov­ers. And read­ers. And I love how you cre­ated a stun­ning treat and worked it around one deli­cious word and a fas­cin­at­ing story. Per­fect blog post. And I agree, noth­ing beats one com­plete, per­fect, intriguing mouth­ful of fla­vors and tex­tures. And how I love scal­lops!

    • Jam­ie, I can’t tell you how much your com­ment has lif­ted my spir­its today. As ever, you have been so gen­er­ous and thought­ful in what you have said and it means a huge, huge amount to me. Thank you x

  5. Ses­qui­ped­ali­an! Squeeee! :))) Lightly infatu­ated with the word. And how inter­est­ing to learn the ori­gins of the word canapé. There’s noth­ing I love more than a post that teaches me as much about words as about food. Love those plates — they really show off the food…

    • Isn’t it a sen­sa­tion­al word? Some­thing to dream about writ­ing on a Scrabble board, across a triple word square.

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