Persian-Inspired Cheese, Herbs & Walnut Pinwheel Canapés
Looking for a Persian/Persian-inspired canapé recipe for the holiday season parties? These cute little Persian-inspired canapés filled with a mixture of feta cheese, gorgeous-smelling herbs, radishes and walnuts are perfect finger food for any kind of party. I love to serve them at drinks parties. At other times I skip the rolling and have the filling over crispbread or my favourite flatbread, lavash, for breakfast, brunch or as a snack.
My Azarbaijani (northwestern Iranian province) family loved having a basketful of fresh soft herbs such as purple and green Persian basil, mint, Persian chives and tarragon with radishes and spring onions (sabzi khordan) on the table at every meal. Well, who doesn’t in Iran? We always grew herbs in our garden and the smell of freshly picked herbs often evokes fond memories of my grandma and the gorgeous meals she so lovingly prepared and served to the family and friends. My pinwheels celebrate the tasty tiny morsels of bread, cheese and herbs that she rolled for me.
To make my pinwheels I first made the cheese filling and allowed the flavours to mix while I was preparing my slices of toast.
I used white toast this time but I’ve made these canapés with seeded bread and they tasted even better but the slices were a little harder to roll and cut.
I removed the crusts from the slices of toast and rolled them with a rolling pin to make them as thin as I could. Then I spread the cheese mixture on the slices and rolled them like tiny Swiss rolls. But they wouldn’t look very appetising just like that, would they?
Some chopped herbs and a few toasted black sesame seeds refined the look and made the little canapés even more tasty. To make the chopped herbs and sesame seeds stick to the rolls I moistened the tops with a little yoghurt, sprinkled the herbs and sesame seeds on the chopping board and rolled the rolls on them like in the following pictures.
The last stage was using a very sharp knife to cut the rolls into slices.
Follow the instruction below and you’ll see how easy it all was!
To serve 6-8 people you will need the following ingredients:
- 100g feta or other salty white cheese, mashed with a fork
- 100g cottage cheese
- 100g walnuts, chopped
- 20g fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 20g fresh mint, finely chopped
- 20g fresh dill, finely chopped
- 5-6 radishes, chopped
- Generous pinch of Aleppo pepper or mild chilli flakes
- 6-8 thin slices of white or seeded toast
- 1 1/2 tablespoon yoghurt to use as glue to keep the rolls together
- 1 tbsp toasted black sesame or nigella seeds to garnish
- 2 sprigs of dill chopped roughly to garnish
- 2 radishes
How to make the pinwheels:
- Mix the two cheeses, chopped herbs, the chopped walnuts and Aleppo pepper or chilli flakes in a bowl and mix well with a fork.
- Toast the slices of bread lightly (without colouring) and let cool. Remove the crusts off the slices of toast with a sharp knife. Using a rolling-pin roll the slices as thin as you can.
- Spread a piece of cling film on a chopping board. Put a slice of toast on the film and spread two-thirds of the slice from the side nearest you with about one and a half or two tablespoon of the cheese and herb mixture (depending on the size of the slices). Moisten the remaining surface of the toast with a little yoghurt to help keep the roll together when rolled. Starting from the side nearest you start rolling with the help of the cling film, like you would roll a Swiss roll. Wrap the roll in the film and gently squeeze and neaten the shape. Repeat with the rest of the slices. Refrigerate the rolls for several hours to allow the flavours to develop.
- Remove the cling film from each roll and Moisten the top with a little yoghurt. Sprinkle a little chopped dill and sesame seeds on the chopping board and roll the prepared rolls on it so they cling to the bread. Using a very sharp knife carefully cut the rolls into 1cm thick slices. Top with thin slivers from the red part of a radish. Arrange on a serving platter and garnish with more radishes. Let come to room temperature and enjoy!
PS: You can prepare the rolls up to 24 hours before serving and keep refrigerated.