Cocktail party appetizers that freeze well
I'm sort of insanely planning a cocktail party in the midst of a September of work travel. I'm looking for appetizers I can make ahead and freeze, beyond the obvious phyllo/puff pastry cups and dumplings. I know there are lots of dips and snacks I can simply assemble on the spot, but I do have plenty of time for cooking now and would love to make as many homemade items as possible. Usually my cocktail party appetizers are more along the lines of summer rolls and tuna tartare and fresher things.
I make savory palmiers that are always a hit. They are made with puff pastry, but aren't standard party food.
I combine cream cheese with chives, garlic, and beau monde (like grandma used to) and spread it on puff pastry, just a thin layer, and top with crumbled bacon and either blue or parmesan cheese, fold the edges in stages to the middle, wrap with plastic and freeze. Cut into 1/2" slices, arrange on a sheet pan 2-3 inches apart and bake 5-10 minutes, flip them over and bake again.
I've also done versions with apples, walnuts, and brie, one with pesto and parma ham and parmesan cheese, and one with just parmesan cheese pressed into the puff pastry like you would sugar in a traditional palmier.
I usually use a quick homemade puff pastry that takes about 20 minutes to put together (including folding and rolling)
Quick Puff Pastry
2 ¼ cups flour (bread flour is great for this, but all-purpose works too)
1 ¼ c unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit salt) cut into ½” cubes
½ tsp salt
6 T cold water
- Put flour in mixing bowl, add the cubes of butter. Toss to coat.
- Dissolve salt in water. Pour over flour and butter and mix with a spoon or hands until it comes together as a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10 times. Form the dough into a square before completing 3 double turns.
For each double turn:
- Roll the dough into a long and narrow rectangle about ½” thick. Arrange the rectangle so the long side is closest to you
- Make a mark in the center of the long side of the rectangle. Fold both ends of the dough in to the center.
- Brush excess flour from the top of the dough and fold once more as if you were closing a book.
When you begin the second double turn, place the dough in front of you so that the short ends of the rectangle are on your left and right, 90 degrees from the way the dough lay when you “closed the book” with the first turn.
After you've done this 3 times, roll it out to ½”, wrap in cling film and store in the freezer or refrigerator. Thaw in refrigerator before using.
for stationary appetizers you can do dips or (my fave) caramelize onion with some olive oil and thyme and freeze them, then defrost them and add blue cheese great for crustini or crackers. pesto also freezes well.
as far a bites go you can deep fry wonton wrapper triangles then use them to serve tuna tartare, chicken salad or a myriad of other things on. this is a great method of turning a dip into a bite. I find bites much more elegant.
i"ve never tried freezing stuffed mushrooms but you could try.
this isn't particularly elegant but when i was a kid my mom would wrap sausage in puff pastry and then cut slices and bake them, you could freeze the slices and then bake then right up. a gastrique drizzle and some chopped herbs would go a long way to fancy-ing this up.
I hate to see you discount filo and puff pastry, since you can make some really interesting and delicious homemade and freezable things with them. But, if you insist, you can velvet thin slices of flank steak and cook them in whatever sauce you like, then skewer. Keep them in the oven to stay warm and replenish the platter as needed. Bite-sized shrimp cakes or crab cakes or quinoa cakes would freeze well too, and go straight into the oven to warm.