Holiday Appetizer University
Appetizer, Hors d’ oeuvre, starter, first course, nibble, nosh, cocktail snack, snack, starter, sneak preview all these words describe what to most of us is a start of a Party and now that we are in the party season of the year why not expand your repertoire of seafood cooking. After all there is to seafood appetizers than cooked shrimp.
Made from sturgeon roe, or other fish roe, lightly cured with salt and borax, caviar is the most expensive luxury food in the world. It has a unique texture, and the tiny fish eggs burst on the roof of your mouth to release a salty liquid with an elusive, incomparable flavor. The rarest and most expensive is Beluga. But there is also a farm raised sturgeon roe from California, which can bought plain or in a dozen different flavors and salmon and lumpfish roes. Serve Caviar traditionally on crushed ice with Blinis and sour cream, chopped hard cooked eggs and onions.
8oz cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
2T Lemon Juice
2T Chopped fresh Dill
1 Green onion, chopped
1T Half and Half
Caviar to taste and budget
Mix all ingredients except caviar with a mixer until smooth and fold in caviar. Serve well chilled with water crackers or toast points
Squid or Calamari
The cardinal rule with squid is to cook it either very briefly or for a long time; anything in between and it becomes tough and rubbery. The bodies can be stuffed and baked in tomato sauce, or braised with tomatoes and onions. Squid rings can be coated and deep fried, or boiled briefly and used for salad. Squid is often used in Asian recipes and lends itself to flavorings such as ginger, chili and lime
Fried Squid with paprika and garlic
1¼lbs squid, cleaned
6T Olive Oil
1 fresh chili, seeded and finely chopped
2tsp Spanish Smoked Paprika
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1T Sherry Vinegar
1tsp lemon rind
2T Parsley, chopped
Cut squid bodies into rings and tentacles into bite sized pieces, place in bowl and toss with 2T Olive Oil, Half the chili and the paprika season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Toss Squid in flour and divide into two batches. Heat remaining oil in deep fry pan, add first batch of squid and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, add half the garlic, then turn out into a bowl Repeat with second batch, adding more oil if needed.
Sprinkle with sherry vinegar, lemon rind, remaining chili and parsley.
Serve hot or cold
Rosemary’s Christmas Calamari
1 pound Calamari, cleaned
10 to 12 pepperoncini
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 T Fresh Parsley, minced
4 T Fresh Lemon Juice
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, well beaten
1 T Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and Pepper
1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 T dried Parsley
Salt & Pepper
In large bowl, stir 2 T salt into 1 quart cold water. Add Calamari and soak for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse under running cold water.
While Calamari is soaking bring 1 quart water to a boil turn off heat and add Calamari. Blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and dry well. Cut Calamari into rings
Remove stems and seeds from pepperoncini and cut into thin strips.
In a bowl combine the egg mixture and in a pie plate combine bread crumb mixture. Dip each piece of Calamari into egg and then into bread crumbs, shaking off the excess. Arrange on sheet tray lined with wax paper until all the Calamari is breaded.
Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add Calamari and sauté until golden brown. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, pepperoncini, and lemon juice.
Remove from heat. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
8 Fresh Sardines
2 Lemons, halved
Gut Sardines, if needed, but leave on heads and tails. With small knife score each side of the sardines three times.
Place sardines on a broiler rack and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Cook in a preheated broiler for 4 minutes on each side.
Squeeze with lemon immediately after removing and serve warm
1 lb Scallops
2 T Butter
2 T Dry white wine
1 T Fresh Parsley, Chopped
Salt and pepper
Preheat sauté pan over medium high heat and add the butter. When butter has melted add the scallops and sauté 3-4 minutes per side. Add the wine and the parsley allow the wine to reduce, season with salt and pepper and serve warm.
Mussels Steamed in White Wine
4 lbs fresh Mussels
1 ¼ cups white wine
4 Large Shallots, Finely Chopped
2 T Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped
Pick through mussels and discard any that are damaged or will not close when tapped. Rinse under cold water and clean off any “Beards” that may remain.
In a large sauté pan with a lid combine wine, shallots, parsley and plenty of pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes.
Add the mussels and cover tightly with a lid, cook for 5 minutes shaking the pan occasionally. Discard any mussels that have not opened.
Remove the mussels to another pan or casserole and strain liquid over to the top of the mussels.
3 cups coarse salt
24 fresh Oysters, opened
½ cup Butter
2 Shallots, finely chopped
4 T Parsley, chopped
1 ¼ lbs Fresh chopped Spinach
6 T Fresh Bread Crumbs
2 tsp Pernod
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 425°f. Make a bed of salt on two large baking sheets. Set oysters in salt bed and set aside.
Melt butter in a sauté pan add shallots and cook until softened, stir in the spinach and let it wilt.
Add the rest of the ingredients and allow to cook 2-3 minutes.
Divide stuffing on each of the oysters and bake for 5 minutes or until bubbling. Serve with lemon wedges.
You may top each oyster with parmesan cheese before baking
Crab Meat is the single easiest seafood that you can use to dress up any dish during the holidays. All Crab Meat is pasteurized and therefore only needs to be warmed to create a hot appetizer. Fold in some the next time you make spinach dip or try this:
1 lb Lump Crab Meat
1 ½ cups Soft Bread Crumbs
3 T Green Onions, finely chopped
2 T Lemon Juice
2 T Mayonnaise
½ tsp Paprika
1 Egg White, slightly beaten
¼ tsp Salt
Combine all ingredients carefully, so as not to break up the lump crab meat. Shape into 8 -16 Patties.
Heat a mixture of Olive Oil and Butter together in a sauté pan over medium high heat; cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Cook crab cakes in two or three batches.
Serve with lemon wedge and tartar sauce.
Okay, Okay I know said there was more than just shrimp but this is Wisconsin so I have to give a few shrimp recipes.
Remember when cooking shrimp it will tell you when it is done. If it’s a “C” it’s cooked. If it’s an “O” it’s overcooked.
1 lb raw medium shrimp
2 ten to twelve inch Tortillas
8 six inch Tortillas
2 cups refried beans
½ cup sliced black olives
¼ cup Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
4 fresh or pickled Jalapeno peppers
6oz Mexican shredded cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup guacamole
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain shrimp and place in ice water to cool. Peel shrimp and halve lengthwise.
Preheat oven to 450°f. Cut each tortilla into wedges and spray both sides with a cooking spray. Arrange on baking sheets and bake for 3 minutes turning once or until crisp.
Spread beans on tortilla chips leaving a ¼ inch border. Top with shrimp, olives, onions, peppers and cheese.
Bake again until cheese melts 3-5 minutes and serve with sour cream and guacamole.
Southwestern Cocktail Sauce
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
1 T Onion, Finely Chopped
1 ½ T Lime Juice
1 T Prepared Horseradish
1 Jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Hot Sauce
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours. Serve with cooked Shrimp or other shellfish.