Wanted: Your best "Over the Top" appetizer for New Years
Nothing beats a bacon wrapped scallop, IMO. I have that just about every new years.
another luxe app that I love is this: Slice a firm textured apple (i like Arkansas Black) on a mandoline. Not paper thin, but you should see through it. Dry in the oven on two cookie sheets. One lined w/ a Silpat and one lined w/ parchment. It will take several hours at around 250 degrees.
When you take them out...the parchment apples will have curled their edges more than the silpat. Nestle a curled slice inside a flatter slice and it will resemble a flower. Put a chunk of aged gouda in the middle and bake in the oven just long enough to melt it and stick the two together. Drizzle a little caramel on top and sprinkle with a few pomegranite seeds.
Yes, it's a buttload of work, but beautiful, crazy delicious and people will be amazed.
I do the same thing with the layers of apple slices, but instead of cheese I fill them with a brandied calamari salad...you sort of lose the floral effect (because I tend to fill the cup with probably a bit more calamari salad than necessary!), but they're still amazingly pretty and they'd fit with your seafood theme...You could use calvados instead of the brandy, but I think that makes the salad a bit too sweet.
Since I got both a mandoline and a silpat for Christmas, had to try this. A few questions?
Peel on or off? I left it on and it seemed fine; wasn't sure if that was the intended effect.
Where do you slice the apple? I did it on the side (vertically)
How thick? I did it at about 3/16 of an inch; the parchment ones did curl, but just a bit; the silpat ones not at all.
Mine needed some cheese "glue" between the apples as well as on top.
Tasted nice, looked "interesting" (the slices got rather brownish); LOTS of work!
Hi there! I'm so flattered you tried this!
I do leave the peel on, I like the bit of color. I slice them horizontally, so there's a little core shaped hole on the inside. I think that might be why my cheese melts through the hole and sort of sticks them together.
I'm slicing mine a lot thinner. More like 1/16 of an inch. And...don't hate me...I think the brown color is the result of the 250 degrees. I failed to mention they look prettier if you have time to do them on 200. The last time I made them, I needed the oven, and so cranked it up to 250. They still tasted good, but not as pretty. I'm so sorry they were just so-so for you...'cause they are indeed lots of work. (but fun, if you consider that sort of thing fun!)
If you are open to a dip, try this easy but very good crab dip:
layer cream cheese on platter, spread chili sauce over, top with drained lump crabmeat. Assorted nice crackers for dipping.
You could do these layers on individual crackers or crostini for passed appetizers instead.
1. Escargot en brioche - If you can get/make brioche dough, make them into small rolls (like you are rolling chocolate truffle). Bake them off and let cook. Make garlic butter. Cut the tops off mini brioches and fill with a nice large escargot and the garlic butter (under and above the escargot), sprinkle with parm. Freeze. Bake from frozen.
Option #2 - Buy a loaf of brioche and cut into 3"slices. Cut into cubes and dig a little hole in each cube (leave a bottom). Add escargots cooked in garlic butter after they have been cooled and add parm shavings. You can freeze ahead and bake too. Not as good as the first option, but still yummy.
2. Mushroom caps stuffed with crab meat and bernaise sauce.
3. Brandade de morue served with crostini and roasted garlic in EVOO.
4. Small cubes of organic salmon roasted. On an app spoon, lay cooked lentils, roasted salmon and drizzle with greek style yogurt that has been made savoury with black pepper and hint of salt.
5. Mussels on a half shell. Roasted in the oven with shallots, chopped fresh tomato, garlic, and sherry. We do these on the stove top and keep warm in the oven until serving.
6. Mini crab cakes with remoulade.
7. Large cocktail shrimp in shooter glasses with cocktail sauce at the bottom of the glass.
8. I love a great cheese and fruit board served with truffle honey, apricot preserves, grapes and a variety of breads, breadsticks and crackers.
Have you thought about Oysters Rockerfeller? It was a tradition in my family which started my parents' first Christmas Eve back in the 50s - they were broke and Mom wanted to make something special for my Dad. Evolved into an an annual tradition and tehn a party, at the biggest one about 25 years later we made 14 dozen.
They are very easy to make as long as you get all the ingredients assembled beforehand.
Basic assembly and then popping pans in and out from under the broiler.
We always used the recipe from the old Joy of Cooking, which I've discovered is not really authentic, but is delicious. You'll find a bunch of recipes online if you do a search.
You fill broiler pans with rock salt, settle in the oyster shells so they're stable, and top the oysters with softened butter mixed with minced onion or scallions, creamed spinach, crumbled bacon, and bread crumbs... run under the broiler for 4-5 minutes. Guests who thought they hated seafood succumbed and came back the next year converted.
I'm not including a recipe because I don't actually have one aside from my very old JoK book and I think that's not ok here since i couldn't find a link. But if you google it you'll find quite a few.
A lot of recipes call for pernod... don't use if you don't like licorice.
Not sure how over the top it is, but I love to serve sesame rice crisps topped with diced sushi grade tuna, drizzled with ponzu sauce. It's a great "bite" to pass.
We made butter-poached lobster following the recipe from the French Laundry cookbook for dinner Xmas night. Par-cooked the lobster and shelled on Xmas eve, then brought the meat out of the fridge to poach for a few minutes before serving.
Served it as mini lobster rolls. Homemade yeast rolls made in an oblong, hotdog bun-ish shape (though ~3 or 4 inches long), from-scratch mayo, and a couple of bites of lobster per roll. Lemon wedge for drizzling. We served 16 adults one each using 4 lobsters. It didn't end up this way, but with 3 people, one to cut buns, one to spread mayo, and one to add the lobster, you could crank them out.
If folks weren't standing around the kitchen, eating them as fast as we could make them, I'd have put together a platter to put out.
This bloody mary shrimp cocktail recipe has been my go to appetizer lately, as everyone seems to love it.
I use a spicy cocktail sauce in place of the ketchup and really bump up the horseradish and tabasco to taste. And I buy good quality pre-cooked large shrimp from my seafood guy, rather the going to the trouble of boiling my own. The vodka, scallions and celery take what would be an ordinary shrimp cocktail up a huge notch. Serving in chinese soup spoons is really the best way to go, as you want some of the liquid with each serving. Endive leaves work, but can be tricky if they tip over. Shot glasses would work, too, especially if you rim one edge with celery salt. After plating as much as I can, I put the rest of the shrimp in a bowl with a spoon so that people can "reload" their spoon/endive/shot glass with more.
Louisiana deviled crab cakes: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
Stuffed crabs: http://www.marketmanila.com/archives/...
Crab rangoon: http://recipes.robbiehaf.com/C/349.htm
Seared scallops with champagne-vanilla butter: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...
Crab and goat cheese empanadas: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mi...
Poach lobster tails, shell-on, in broth made fragrant with a bay leaf, an onion, some celery and peppercorns. Just barely poach them. Chill thoroughly before removing shells.
Cut the lobster tails into discs, set aside.
Make a sauce by whipping a cup of heavy cream (do not sweeten this cream) until it forms firm but not stiff peaks. Fold two tablespoons of good Dijon mustard and some tarragon carefully into the whipped cream so as to keep it as airy as possible.
Place the lobster discs on cocktail toasts, top with a dollop of the cream (or you can use a piping bag). Top the cream with a half teaspoon of caviar of your choosing.
Enjoy these hors d'oeuvres with Champagne.
The problem with whipped cream, whether unsweetened or sweetened, is that you have only about 3-4 hours to put it together, at the very most, before things start to weep liquid, the cream starts to fall, etc.
The cool thing, however, is that the lobster discs may be prepared a day ahead, and so can the sauce... if you keep it in the piping bag that you're going to use to dispense it.
Of course, the dollop of caviar atop each one can only be done at the last minute. To do so earlier will invite a stream of green/blue "lava" falling down the sides of the whipped cream clouds.
Jay2512 mentioned this blog on another thread the other day and the recipe for liver pate with parsley and fennel frond gelee, there, looked absolutely stunning:
http://www.shesimmers.com/ (scroll down to the liver pate recipe... I think it's the third or fourth one down)
I've also been playing around with a crab with gelee prep, though I don't have a recipe of my own to share, yet. I've been mixing crab meat (claw meat is fine, since you'll be chopping it) with minced ginger and scallion, sesame oil. Shape this into a decorative mound with an ice cream scoop or an egg shape with a mold. In my ideal world, I'd be able to top with a square or rectangle of gelee, but I haven't figured out a way to make/handle it that doesn't tear too easily, yet. You could also make a softer gelee and scoop it around the crab or solidify the gelee in individual serving bowls, before topping with the crab. Here's a real recipe, which I haven't followed, but have consulted for ratios / methods, to good effect:
Another variation, here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fo...
How about caviar? This is really yummy and people think they’re getting a special treat. I buy the little jar of black caviar in the supermarket…sorry I can’t remember the name! Pour it into a small strainer, rinse and let it drain for at least an hour. Use a small, kind of flat bottomed bowl and line it with plastic wrap. Take some chive flavored cream cheese and mold it into the bowl. To serve, use a nice plate with some curly leaf lettuce, invert the cream cheese, spread the drained caviar on top and grate a hard boiled egg over it. Serve with slices of toasted french bread.
I agree with the shrimp cocktail suggestions. I like to serve it in martini glasses! Put the homemade cocktail sauce in the bottom (I like to add lots of lime juice and horseradish), place the cooked shrimp on the rim along with a slice of lime or lemon – very festive!
i was inspired to create an elegant and decadent hors d'oeuvre after seeing this Epicurious recipe a while back:
i don't have an actual "recipe" for it, so i'll just give you a quick overview of what i did.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Use a mandoline to cut thin slices of Idaho potato, sweet potato and beet, pat the potato slices dry, toss all vegetables gently with oil (or coat lightly with cooking spray), and season *lightly* with salt.
- Set a flat, metal drying or roasting rack inside a sheet pan, and lay the slices on the rack.
- Bake the “chips” for 12-15 minutes, or until dry, crisp, and slightly browned, remove from oven, and cool.
- While the chips are baking, make the Creamy Champagne Dressing and season to taste with fresh black pepper (there isn’t any in the original recipe).
- Toss jumbo lump crabmeat with just enough dressing to moisten slightly, taking care not to break up the crab too much.
- Spoon about a tablespoon of dressed crab in the center of a vegetable chip.
- Place a bite-sized piece of butter-poached lobster or seared scallop in the center of the crab mixture.
- Top with a bit of caviar.
- Garnish with fresh snipped chive and grated lemon zest. Serve with extra dressing on the side for drizzling.
Note: You can also use endive as a serving vehicle instead of the chips.
My local Chinese-American place, Main Garden, plainly calls these "Shrimp Roll":
1 large fresh deviened prawn
2 slices Chinese-style BBQ pork
1 slice bacon
Make a slit in the deviened part of the prawn. Stuff the two pieces of BBQ pork in the slit and wrap the whole thing with bacon. Stick a toothpick in to hold together. Roll around in tempura batter and deep-fry about 2 minutes. Serve with hot mustard.
Lobster and Mushroom Spring Rolls w/ Tarragon Dipping Sauce -
I don't have a real recipe - if you need more detail than what is below, ask and I'll reply again.
Make mushroom duxelles - white mushrooms, and wild if you want to splurge (morels are awesome in this) - shallots, fresh tarragon, lots of butter and a shot of sherry at the end - make sure that all the liquid cooks out so the mix is as dry as possible. Season very well w/ s&p- allow to cool so that the butter hardens - then drain (this way the butter will stay in the mixture).
Use spring roll wrappers - the square frozen type (these can be a bit hard to find - asian stores), if not, use the egg roll wrappers sold in most supermarkets.
Depending on what size you want - either cut into triangles or use whole - (I like triangles)
Place a small spoon of the mushroom duxelles - place a few pieces of cooked lobster meat on top - roll and fold in the corners - seal w/ egg wash or corn starch and water.
Dipping Sauce - use sour cream or cream fraiche - add lemon zest (no juice) - lots of chopped tarragon and salt & pepper (allow this to sit for a while for the flavor of the tarragon to develop)
Cook the Spring Rolls - either shallow fry, deep fry or ... if you have a very hot convection oven and are using the spring roll wrappers - in a sheet pan gently toss the rolls w/ lots of canola oil (any oil, not extra virgin olive oil) - cook until browned and crispy.
By the way, this sounds like it would be a really good quesadilla with some very mild cheese! Or you could make it w/ cilantro instead of tarragon... I could go on....
Here's how I make mini crabcakes, no frying involved. The recipe is forgiving: exact amounts aren't important; the key is to go easy on everything other than crab so that the crabmeat shines through. I only use small amounts of red bell pepper and green for color. These are spectacular, and they always disappear first.
1 egg, lightly beaten
dash of worcestershire
dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce
dash of fresh lemon juice
1/3 c or so of good quality mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard (or a few sprinkles of dry mustard)
about 1 T. minced sweet red pepper (or orange or yellow)
about 1 T. minced green onion or chives
about 1 tsp. minced flat leaf parsely
salt to taste (remember the crabmeat may be salty)
1 lb. lump blue crabmeat
1/3 to 1/2 c. Japanese-style breadcrumbs (Panko), plus more for muffin tins
Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk all ingredients except crab and Panko in a medium bowl. Add crab, breaking up lightly and mixing gently. When well-mixed, add bread crumbs until mixture binds easily (you may not need a full half cup; you could need a bit more)--that is a spoonful of it will hold shape when formed into a patty. (If you have time, refrigerate the mixture for an hour or so to firm it.)
Spray w/Pam or lightly oil mini-muffin tins (the recipe makes about 48 mini cakes, but can be made in separate batches according to the number of muffin tins available). Then sprinkle bread crumbs in the tins, just to coat the bottoms of the cups. (This makes both for easy removal and a light crust.) Spoon crab mixture into the muffin cups, pressing lightly on the mixture so cakes won't fall apart after baking.
Put tins into the oven, and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they begin to brown around the edges. They can be served warm or at room temperature. They do not suffer from sitting out on the buffet table although they seldom last very long!
I always top each cake w/a dollop of flavored mayo. Typically I use two, alternating colors with each crab cake. On Xmas Eve, I made a sriracha-spiked mayonnaise and another mixed w/basil oil and lemon zest, and then presented the cakes w/alternating red and green tops on a pretty tray. I sprinkled minced chives on top. But you can use your imagination and do lots of things to top these babies and add some wow factor--creme fraiche and caviars in different colors; jalapeno or poblano cream; a dollop of guacamole.
I made these for a cocktail party once and served them inside individual endive leaves w/a a couple of lengths of chive planted artfully into a dollop of lemony mayo.
wow...thanks for that. your recipe is very similar to how I make crabcakes, but of course I saute them in a bit of butter. Cant wait to try your method, not only to save a bit of fat, but because sometimes I break them when I flip. I suspect these would be sturdier, easier to transport and reheat if needed.
I often top my crabcakes with pepper jelly. You can find it lots of places, I prefer the stuff from Foster's market in Durham, NC.
Believe me, I'm a fan of butter, and I love fried or sauteed crab cakes, but the first time i tried baking them this way, I loved them. It's so much easier this way--and people always appreciate that they're not fried.
I love the pepper jelly idea. I will try that. Thanks for a new idea.