HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Need help with appetizer presentation!

Help Help Help! I'm having a swanky dinner party and one of the appetizers I've chosen is marinated shrimp. I've made these a hundred times and I usually just plop them in a bowl, but I'd like to do some thing prettier this time.

I 'm really not a visual person, so my presentations usually lean more toward the appalling than the appealing.

Any ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Growing up cooking Japanese, we paid a lot of (but not obsessive) attention to presentation. Shrimp are easy because of their crustaceous form and bright color when cooked. Here, I go outside to get a ginger or small banana leaf and some ferns. Just some touches of green with the shrimp on their sides in a circle or in a curved fan--with heads and feet all pointing in the same general direction would work. For touches of green you can use curly endive, carefully cut green onion, cilantro or any other that is avialable and appealing. If the shimp are not served in a liquid marinade, they can be placed on a bed of green. If served with a marinade or sauce, get all arranged and drizzle the liquid on last in a sort of squeeze bottle hoyty-toyty way.

    1. Beautiful vision and description Sam, TY.

      What size shrimp, shannon? That usually is the how much I fuss factor for me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Quine

        I usually use medium size (what is it? 26-30?), although I may go bigger with this one for the wow factor.

      2. Skewered if hot
        If cold how about around the rim of a martini glass with crushed ice and maybe lemon wedges.

        1. If your shrimp are best very chilled, then how about the Martha Stewart ice bowl seen and described below? Has anyone out there tried this before? Does it really work?!


          If your shrimp are better at room temp., then laying them on a white platter on top of a dark green banana leaf would be pretty and simple.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Carb Lover

            I did an Ice bucket literally made of ice like that once. It had roses in it. It worked wonderfully. I can't remember for the life of me how I did it! But it was spectacular!

          2. Well, with that size, I would present them on a cucumber slice, with a dab of the marinade on top. Perhaps a dill sprig or a chopped bit of tomato on top as garnish.

            1. You said the shrimp are marinated. I wrap shrimp with a blanched, chilled snow pea pod and secure with a toothpick. Both take on flavor when marinated in a vinaigrette. There is some fuss factor involved.

              1. I agree with skewered. Though an old type presentation, shrimp lollipops are still exciting to see at parties. Remove the tails, twirl the shrimp and skewer it through the tail and out the top so that it is a round shape. You could place them vertically into a styrofome rectangle covered up with whatever, marbles perhaps.

                1. Thanks for the ideas, everyone! I'm going to experiment with the lollipops. I think the ice bowl sounds very chic, but I wonder how to keep the chic-ness as the ice melts?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: shannoninstlouis

                    I have done the ice bowls a time or two. just line a tray with a nice looking tea towel (maybe an extra not-so-nice towel underneath). It will last a LONG time without melting problematically. Both times I did it, I served it outside in South Carolina in July. No problem, and I threw the bowl out in the pasture when the party was over. Zero clean up. I made smaller matching bowls for the cocktail sauce.

                    Another thing to skewer shrimp with : rosemary branches. Strip all the leaves except a tuft at the end.

                  2. If you have a tray with a lip, the ice can go down and then anchor your ice bowl in that. I have several that I'm picturing, but the marinated part is throwing me off a bit? Do you remove them from the marinade and then present?
                    You didn't mention if you wanted to serve these on a buffet or perhaps individual servings.

                    You can use small little clear/glasses (shot glasses) with filled with shrimp and cute picks.
                    I love martini glasses or the wide champage glasses filled with a greens and shrimp or seafood but I use this more in smaller parties,

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      The shrimp are cooked and then chilled in kind of a saucy marinade. The recipe originally called for it to be served on a bed of greens as a 1st course, but I'm doing it as a buffet, along with cocktails.

                      1. re: shannoninstlouis

                        Hi shannoninstlouis,

                        If the original recipe calls for serving with greens, how about using small lettuce leaves (such as boston lettuce) as the serving "cups", and scoop some marinated shrimps onto them? You can adjust the size of the lettuce cups and the amount of shrimps to make either a big/small presentation.

                        You know the best part? You don't even need to clean up as the guests will eat the serving "plates"! That's what I like!

                    2. You can also serve them in white porclein spoons (Chinese soup spoon) for individual servings.

                      1. Here's lollipop shrimp done by Marcel of Top Chef. This is what it basically should look like. http://www.bravotv.com/Top_Chef_2/rec... recipe is bad though for anyone considering it, just look at the beautiful presentation.

                        1. Skewer as suggested above, and stick into a firm large fruit... maybe a small watermelon?