Sweet Onion-Lemon Butter Canapés

Preparation info

  • Makes

    32 or 64

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

By Elizabeth Schneider

Published 2001

  • About

Dark bread is slathered with lemon-honey butter, chilled, topped with slim onion slices and dill, cut into narrow rectangles, sparked with crisp coarse salt and pepper, and passed as a special hors d’oeuvre— one that demands iced vodka or aquavit. Rich imported butters, usually from France or Denmark, are well worth the extra cost for their satiny texture and deep flavor. Choose a dense, grainy, dark bakery loaf (pumpernickel, 7-grain, or similar) that can be sliced thin.


  • 1 lemon
  • ¼ pound butter (8 tablespoons) at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons full-flavored honey
  • 1 rectangular loaf (about 8 by 5 inches) firm dark bread (not sliced)
  • 1 large sweet/mild onion, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons minced dill
  • Pepper
  • coarse sea salt, preferably fleur de sel


    1. Scrub lemon. Grate zest. Combine in bowl with butter and honey and whip with wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Halve lemon and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice. Whip into butter, a teaspoon at a time.
    2. With a sharp bread knife, slice crust from all sides of the loaf, trimming to make a neat rectangle. Cut lengthwise into slices about ¼ inch thick (8 long rectangles). Lay 4 slices side by side on each of two cutting boards. Scoop a tablespoon of butter onto each slice. With flexible spatula, spread evenly to edges. Chill.
    3. Quarter onion, cutting through “poles.” Cut lengthwise into thin slices. Arrange 4 slices on each long bread slice to nearly cover, leaving a little space between onions. Sprinkle a stripe of dill down the center of each long slice. Press bread pieces tightly together to make a single-layer rectangle (about 16 by 7 inches) on each board. Cover each with waxed paper. Press down with a rolling pin to flatten slightly. Chill until serving time.
    4. To serve, grind over pepper and sprinkle with salt. Cut each long slice into 4 sections, cutting between the onions for tidiness. Halve each if you like small canapés. Serve at once, so that the salt remains crunchy.