Fast and Funky Hot Shrimp Dip

gulf shrimp

So about an hour ago you saw the neighbors in the driveway and you asked them to come over for a drink and you’re in a panic because you need a quick, but spectacular hor d’oeuvres and you are raiding the pantry and the freezer because they are going to be here in forty-five minutes.  You are so lucky you have a can of Cream of Shrimp soup!

  • One can of cream of shrimp soup
  • One can of shrimp, drained
  • One roll of garlic cheese (or a cup of grated cheddar and a teaspoon of garlic powder)
  • One 8 ounce can of mushrooms, drained
  • One tablespoon of sherry

Stir the first two ingredients together in a four-cup pyrex mixing cup and microwave until it bubbles  Add garlic cheese in thin slices and microwave for another minute or two, incorporating the melted cheese.  Stir in the mushrooms and microwave for another minute or two.  Pour into the shallow covered stoneware dish your sister gave you for Christmas and add the sherry.  Now you can keep it warm in the microwave.  Surely you have some chips or crackers about?

Advertisements

Brennan’s Crab Ravigotte

                                      crablegs

This hor d’oeuvre recipe from the original Brennan’s  Restaurant on New Orleans’ Royal Street has been a favorite for over forty years.   It goes together simply but your guests will make quick work of it so prepare several servings.  You may offer it as a canape on toast triangles but I prefer it in wonton cups made by lightly brushing the skins with olive oil and pressing them into a mini-muffin pan.  Bake for about eight minutes in a 350 degree oven.  This recipe should require about a dozen wonton cups.

Combine 1/2 cup of homemade mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of minced parsley, 1 tablespoon of drained and chopped capers, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of dry mustard, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of prepared horseradish, 1 tablespoon of minced pimiento, 1 finely chopped boiled egg, 1/4 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1 cup of backfin lump crabmeat.  Toss lightly and chill for an hour before serving.

Mussels and Mayo

steamed mussels

A little bit of saffron goes a long way.  We just discovered this perfect combination of cooked and chilled mussels served with threads of saffron in a mayonnaise-based sauce a few weeks ago in Rouen.  It is a wonderful appetizer served on a bed of ice or rock salt.

  • 2 pounds of fresh mussels (about sixty)
  • 1 cup of your favorite dry, white wine
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch of saffron thread
  • 1/3 cup of roasted red peppers, well-drained
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 half cup of home-made mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Smoked paprika to taste

Bring onion and wine to a boil, add mussels and cook, covered, for about three minutes.  Cool and remove top shells,  separate each mussel and return to its bottom shell.  Place the shells on an ice or rock salt-filled tray and chill.  In a food processor, add the next seven ingredients and blend well.  Put a generous dollop of the saffron mayo on each mussel and sprinkle with paprika before serving.

 

Chesapeake Cheddar Clam Toasts

I think you will enjoy this dish from an earlier era spent with a rowdy crowd of young naval officers at Virginia Beach.  We usually used canned clams but freshly shucked, sauteed in butter, and chopped is always better.  Must be served with very cold beer!

  • 1 pound of white cheddar, grated
  • 1 six ounce can of baby clams, drained
  • 1 quarter cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of chives, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, well-beaten
  • Black pepper to taste, freshly ground
  • Red pepper sauce to taste
  • 8 slices of dark bread like pumpernickel, crust removed

Combine all ingredients and spread generously on bread slices.  Place on a cookie sheet and put under a hot broiler until puffed, brown and bubbly…about 6 minutes.  Cut each toast into four squares and serve.

 

Point Clear Shrimp Cocktail Fritters

Stir up these delicious fritters when you have a crowd gathered in the kitchen at the beach.  They simply must be served hot so they are only appropriate for an informal gathering or when you have a dedicated cook.  Make plenty!

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1 pound of fresh shrimp, chopped

Stir all together and drop by the teaspoonful into hot peanut oil.  Fry until golden and serve with picks.

 

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.