Tartine di Mortadella e Cetriolini

Canapés with Whipped Mortadella and Pickles

Two aspects of our life in Venice led to this recipe: There are eighty-two steps from ground level to our floor (our sixteenth-century house has no elevator), and the telephone is always ringing, announcing visitors. One day the call came late in the afternoon, and the only time we were free to see the callers was immediately. I had nothing in the house to serve with drinks and, having been out several times that morning, I felt running down to the shops—and back up—was out of the question. The only thing the refrigerator offered was mortadella, the Italian sausage. To serve it as I found it, sliced, seemed unsuitable, so I processed it into a foam, mixed it with chopped pickles, and presented it over rounds of good but tender bread. It was so warmly received that it has since become a fixed part of our welcome.


  • Enough good-quality, firm white bread or its equivalent to make 16 squares or rounds about 1Âľ inches square or in diameter
  • 4 ounces mortadella
  • 1½ tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornichons or similar cucumber pickles chopped fine, plus 2 or 3 pickles sliced into thin rounds


  1. Trim the bread of its crust and cut the slices into 16 squares or make 16 rounds.
  2. Peel away the casing from the mortadella and put the mortadella and the butter in a food processor or blender. Process to a creamy consistency. Remove it from the processor’s or blender’s bowl.
  3. Mix the chopped pickles—the pieces should be no bigger than one-third of a grain of rice—with the mortadella.
  4. Place enough of the mixture over each square or round of bread to make a mound about ½ inch high.
  5. Top the mound with a single disk of the sliced pickle.

Serving Suggestions

With wine or other apéritifs, along with or in place of Walnuts in Parmesan Butter. It can also be an appealing addition to a buffet.