Smoked Oyster and Olive Tapenade

Simply put, this is my favorite way to prepare smoked oysters for a party.  This dish is salty, spicy, and exotic.  It is best served with hunks of a rustic European bread to dip or spread.  I always drain smoked oysters and let them soak for a half hour in cold brine to freshen them and remove the excess oil.

  • 1 eight ounce package of cream cheese
  • 1 and a half cups of good mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons of Crystal hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 4 ounces of prepared olive tapenade OR a small can of chopped black olives
  • 1 can of smoked oysters, washed, drained, and chopped.

Mix all of the ingredients and chill.  This will make about two cups

Crabcakes for a Crowd

We’ve been looking for a long time for a low-labor, really crabby crabcake appetizer and lo, this past Christmas, it happened!  It was a cocktail gathering for old friends, family, and neighbors: people we enjoy and with whom we wanted time to visit.  We put together this mini-crabcake recipe from a half-dozen we had clipped and it was perfect for our needs.  Each pound of crabmeat will make about 24 baked crabcakes which are mostly crab, toasted and crunchy…and can be prepared in advance.

  • 1 pound of lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 cup of finely chopped poblano peppers
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 ounces of white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of baking mix
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of seafood seasoning…we prefer Old Bay
  • 1 tablespoon of good olive oil

Wash and drain well the crabmeat, picking through it to remove any unintended cartilage.  Microwave onions and peppers in butter for two minutes and combine them with the Old Bay seasoning, cheese, baking mix, half and half, olive oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Fold in the crabmeat gently so that it does not become too broken up.  Prepare a 24 cup mini-muffin pan by coating it generously with a baking spray.  Butter or oil may work but why take a chance?  Bake at 375 for about twenty minutes and take out of the oven.  Let cool before removing the crabcakes to a warm platter.  We served these with a small dab of lemon aioli made by combining homemade mayo with garlic powder, lemon juice, and more Old Bay seasoning to taste.

 

Hot Shrimp and Artichoke Dip

                              gulf shrimp

You simply can’t have too many shrimp dip recipes and here is one of the very best: easy to assemble but with a lot of flavor notes.  We enjoyed this at Bob and Judy’s houseparty in Orange Beach last Spring during our memorable fraternity reunion at the Florabama.

  • 1/2 pound of shrimp: cooked, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons of dill, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of green peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt to taste

Mix thoroughly and put into a quart stoneware baking dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes or until it merrily bubbles.   We like this with kettle chips.

“I’ve Got a Secret” Smoked Tuna Dip

08_Canned TunaOur old and dear friend Nancy always surprises us when we show up on her doorstep for a drink and a lot of laughs before riding around to view the Christmas lights or to sample the newest restaurant on the Emerald Coast.  The last time we visited, we were treated to her original recipe for a smoked tuna dip and after raves all around, she leaked the secret.  It was simply canned tuna with liquid smoke.  Now, we live on the coast in tuna territory but this was shockingly good.  We want to share it, with her permission.

  • 1 can of albacore tuna in water, drained well
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 splats of red pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Smoked paprika for taste and garnish

Combine all ingredients except for the paprika and chill for a couple of hours.  Mound in a serving dish, sprinkle the paprika for taste and garnish and surround it with saltine crackers…just like your favorite fish camp!

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Egg Mousse with Caviar

                            download

Here’s another easy and elegant approach for caviar or flying fish roe when time is of the essence.  Try serving this in a wide-brimmed Margarita glass with melba toast on the side.

  • 3 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 3 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon of cilantro, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper sauce
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of caviar or fish roe

Process all the ingredients except for the caviar until it is a smooth paste.  Spoon into the serving glass and top with the caviar.  

Summer Garden Salmon Crostini

                           salmon

We never tire of finding new combinations for salmon crostini.  This incorporates freshly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and young red onions from your garden or the nearest produce stand.  You can brush olive oil on thick slices of french bread at your cookout, grill until golden and let your guests ladle the salmon and veggie topping for themselves.

  • 1 pound of smoked salmon, sliced and chopped
  • 2/3 cup of red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of heirloom tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of cucumber, sliced and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh dill, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons of caper berries, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper

Clammed-Up Mushrooms

stuffed mushrooms

Mushrooms have the capability of absorbing and complementing so many flavors and this is another example of that…just one more appetizer that will be wolfed down swiftly so make plenty!

2 pounds of large fresh button mushrooms

2 large garlic cloves, minced

½ cup of butter

12 ounces of canned, chopped, baby clams, drained (Reserve liquid)

1 cup of French breadcrumbs

¼ cup of flat leaf parsley, minced

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons of white wine

1 heaping teaspoon of Italian seasoning

Sea salt to taste

Black pepper, freshly ground

Brush mushrooms and de-stem. Chop stems and saute in half the butter with minced garlic. Remove before garlic darkens. Add clams, breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon juice, wine, and seasonings and stir well. Use remaining butter to brush mushroom caps inside and out and stuff them with the clam mixture. Place in 450 degree oven until sizzling and golden brown.

  • The contents of this site are copyrighted. Permission to reprint may be obtained by written request.