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Aug 27, 2007 01:29 PM

Killer appetizer needed

It's our turn to host the dinner party this weekend for a bunch of serious foodies. We are trying to keep the menu simple so that we can enjoy the night. Our main course is going to be a beef tenderloin and the starter is Gambas al Ajillo (Sizzling garlic shrimp) to be served with Manzanilla sherry which we've read is a perfect match. Another couple is also bringing a starter but I wanted to have something on the table when people arrive. Something dead easy and new and interesting. Any ideas???

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  1. Your menu sounds great...sorry if these suggestions are not new, but how about a nice guacamole? It's not earth-shattering, but tends to get gobbled up. Or something you could make ahead like Spanish tortilla, empanadas, dates stuffed with manchego, or something like that?

    1. This is make-ahead and fairly interesting. Carefully remove the larger, whole leaves from two endives. Clean and set aside, keeping them whole. Finely cube a sour apple, peeled, cucumber and parmesan (2:2:1 ratio, about). Chop the remaining endive and add. Add in chopped toasted pecans. Make a dressing of mayo, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt and pepper and toss with the salad. Let it marinate for at least an hour. Right before people arrive, fill each endive leaf with a spoonful of the salad.

      I think it'll go well with the meal, which is pretty Spanish.

      1. Spanish potato croquettes with saffron aioli always go quickly: Mini empanadas are also a tried-and-true favorite. If you want something a little different, try a puree of roasted eggplant with labneh, za'atar and lavender honey with warm pita chips.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JungMann

          Exactly what I was thinking! Patatas brava or tortilla espanola. Or a charcuteria y queso plate. Chorizo, Serrano ham, maybe aged manchego.

        2. A real killer and one serious foodies will adore is rillettes: If you start today or tomorrow you have plenty of time to make them. They may seem complicated but it is really just a little work today, a little more the next day and let them sit. They can be out on the table with no work involved the day of the party. I didn't include a recipe because I didn't know if you would want traditional pork rillettes, duck or something else. However, recipes abound on the web and are a google away. Personally, I like Anthony Bourdain's version in his Les Halles Cookbook. Have a fun evening.

          1 Reply
          1. re: inuksuk

            The salmon rillettes in Keller's Bouchon book is simple and delicious. It could be made tomorrow.

            A favorite from Penelope Casas are her breaded and deep fried snails with Aioli for dipping. It is in the Tapas book. They don't last long.

          2. baked kale chips -
            wash the kale well and cut into pieces but try to keep the leaves in larger pieces taking out the large stem and vein that runs up the middle as best you can. lightly grease a large cookie sheet with oil and spread the throughly dry leaves in one layer on the sheet and add a little salt - bake at a high temp like 400 - 450 and stir frequently and keep a watchful eye - it will brown and totally dry out and get crisp - usually takes about 20-30 minutes.