I'd like to call on the expertise of the chowhounds to help me think of a finger food that is somewhat elegant but reminiscent of good old southern chow. So far we've got grilled green tomatoes topped with pimento cheese on a round, duck bbq on a mini-sweet potato biscuit, and little portions of shrimp and grits.
Other ideas? It must be passable. I'm thinking something with sausage perhaps, but I'm stumped.
Thanks so much!!
I live in Louisiana, where crab is very popular. This is a great crab dip recipe that I have been making recently. It is from a local community cookbook. For nicer gatherings, it can be served in petite pastry shells.
Carnival Crab Meat Dip
1/2 cup butter
3 green onions, chopped
1 t. minced garlic
Dash of Tabasco
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pound lump crab meat, shells removed and flaked
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the green onions, garlic and Tabasco sauce and mix well. Stir in the cream cheese. Fold in the crab meat gently. Cook over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes or just until heated through. (Do not overcook.) Serve the dip warm with melba toast rounds or spoon into small puff pastry shells. Serves 12.
At a recent potluck I made chicken fried steak sandwiches. I used a recipe I found in Saveur, although I used Cook Illustrated's Mile-High Buttermilk Biscuit recipe instead of the cheese biscuits that Saveur called for. Basically what you do is pound out some beef top round, cut it into smallish pieces (about 3" to 4" square), coat with several alternating coats of seasoned flour and egg/cream, then fry. Make a gravy, then make little sandwiches by putting one slice of steak and a big spoonful of gravy in the biscuits.
I'm an expat. Over the years I've had to learn how to make the dishes I took for granted because EVERYONE made them.
You might want to check out the Southern Living recipe files, be sure to click on "Taste of the South" (not ALL recipes are available to non-subscribers)
Someone below mentioned deviled eggs, below are some fabulous recipes:
1) Southern Living Award winning Deviled Eggs Recipes
2) Southern Foodways Alliance Deviled Egg Contest http://www.southernfoodways.com/oral_history/eggs/index.shtml
Lastly, for another set of online recipe resources are for Southern Texas-style cooking see www.texascooking.com and www.texasmonthly.com
The other day I fixed slices of Virginia ham spread with whipped cream cheese and two whole pickled okra. Spread the cream cheese on the ham, place two pickled okra end to end on top of the cream cheese them roll up like a jelly roll. Cover and refridgerate about 4 hours. Slice into 1" pieces. Easy and very good.
How about small fried squares of polenta (grits), or cornbread, topped with braised greens? Might not be elegant enough and perhaps can't sit around too long (sogginess factor)- but pot likker and cornbread is divine! I was thinking maybe the polenta would hold up better....
If you're making biscuits, consider topping some of them with sawmill gravy for the sausage factor. Especially if you can make a little thumbprint in each biscuit to hold the gravy....
Oh God - devilled eggs and tomato sandwiches. these are Southern religious icons.
Paprika on the eggs of course. I'm no delived egg connoisseur, but I believe Miracle whip & pickle relish may be the horrible ingredients. But here's a better way - sour cream, lemon juice, salt and minced chives. Top with a dollop of salmon eggs and chives. Maybe have both kinds.
Tomato sandwiches - open faced, good white or light wheat bread, mayo, get the biggest, ripest tomatoes if you can and use an empty can to cut the bread into rounds, spread with mayo, and top with a pinch of fresh parsley.
Cover with foil or plastic wrap if they need to sit in the fridge.
re: Niki Rothman
Step away from the eggs and do not let your nasty Miracle Whip come anywhere near them. Only real mayo or better yet butter should be used in deviled eggs. My grandmothers and great grandmothers would rise up froom thier graves and smack me if I were to even consider that stuff in deviled eggs.
Pimento cheese sandwiches would be good again no MW
Little ham biscuits would be good with slivers of country ham.
BBQ Shrimp-these are not grilled but cooked in seasonings associated with BBQ, there is a good recipe fromBobby Flay in the newest Food and Wine where he is in Savannah...you can give oysters the same treatment
Tiny crab cakes, serve with remoulade and tooth pick for dipping
Crab salad in tiny choux pufffs
Shrimp marinated with garlic, chili sauce, Worcestershire, tobasco, lemon and wrapped in bacon and fried in a dry skillet
Shrimp boiled in beer
Benedictine sandwiches...a must for Derby Parties, grate and squeeze dry cucumber. Add it to creamcheese with some minced onion, salt and a little real mayo. Add a drop or two of green food coloring and spread on a firm grained white bread like Pepperidge farms
Deviled Ham as a dip or sandwich spread, country ham please
Meat balls or little franks in bourbon sauce, sauce is equal parts good bourbon and catsup and lt brown sugar to taste
Garlic Cheese..1 lb sharp American chese with 9 oz. cream cheese, 3 mashed cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. lemon juice salt and cayenne. Beat it all together well and form into logs and chill for easy slicing, you can also use this to make garlic cheese grits
There is much more like good old Bisquick cheese and sausage balls and shrimp paste etc.
If you are going to make Pimento Cheese, usa a sharp orange cheddar and don't buy those flabby tasteless pimentos in a jat. Char your own red bell peppers, peel and chop and use them instead.
re: Niki Rothman
Thanks I come from a long line of good traditional southern and southwestern cooks. The sausage balls make 100 and they will all be eaten.
you will need a pound of breakfast sausage I like the hot/spicy type, 10 ounces of grated sharp orange cheddar cheese and 3.5 C. Bisquick.
Break up the sausage in to small bits and let it come to rooom temperature. Then I throw it all in the bowl of my KA mixer and mix with the paddle until well blended. Then roll into marble sized balls and place on a baking sheet, not touching each other and bake in a pre-heated 325-350 oven 20 mins.
Another old but good recipe is Cheesy Oilves.
C. grated sharp orange cheddar, 1/2 C. unsalted butter. 1 C. a-p flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbs paprika (smoked would be good here for a change)60 pimento stuffed green olives drained well.
Combine cheese, butter, flour, paprika and salt to make a stiff dough in your food processor or use a pastry blender. Pinch off a piece of dough and flatten it in your hand place an olive on the dough and wrap well. Repeat with all dough and olives, sealing the olives well. Then place on a baking sheet and freeze for at least 3-4 hours (this keeps the dough from softening and falling off. Bake frozen at 400 for 15 mins.
re: Niki Rothman
MIRACLE WHIP??? Bite your tongue!
Basic deviled eggs: yolks, dry mustard, s&p, dash of Tabasco, just enough mayonnaise to work all of this into a fairly stiff paste. A common Southernism is to add some (usually too much) curry powder; I resist that temptation. If you like you can incorporate some finely-chopped celery, green onion, chives or whatever.
What I like most about these is that I can bring them to ANY party - grizzled old car hobbyists, Pasadena yuppies, WeHo Gay Mafiosi, whatever - and the multitudes fall upon them like a flock of starved geese. The part I don't like is that they never leave me any...
re: Will Owen
Will, try softened unsalted butter in place of mayo some time. That makes an amazing deviled egg. People just cannot get enough of them. I just beat the butter in to the mashed yolks and other spices and it gets nice and fluffy. Then pipe back into the whites. Lately I have been cutting my eggs across the middle instead of length wise and cutting a bit off of the bottom to help them stand up especially when making more than my deviled egg plate will hold. It confuses people a little at first, they are not quite sure what they are but then they just disappear.