Tag Archives: Appetizers

Salmon Rillettes

 

Salmon Rillettes

Salmon Rillettes

It is hard to believe that 2010 is almost at a close.  It has been a very busy year in our household.  Between raising two growing girls, starting a new business, and dealing with the day-to-day of life, we haven’t had as much time to blog as we would like.  Hopefully, 2011 will mean more frequent blogging!

 

Poaching the salmon fillet

Poaching the salmon fillet

So, to help you celebrate the New Year, here is a delicious little appetizer to add to your party spread.  It can be made a day in advance to ease pre-party preparations.  It is quick to put together but looks rather sophisticated on the table.  Pack it in a pretty container and serve in the same dish.

 

Salmon, onions, and butter

Salmon, onions, and butter

The best part, the flavor… I love salmon (especially smoked salmon) and when you combine it with lemon, wine, onion and capers, it is extra delicious.  The combination of two kinds of salmon mixed with butter makes the texture very smooth.  The capers, onions, and spices add a nice little kick of flavor.  For the best taste, allow the dish to come to room temperature before serving on toasted slices of crusty bread or crackers.  Happy New Year!

 

Almost ready

Almost ready

Salmon Rillettes

Adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients:

1/2 lb skinless salmon fillet

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 lb thinly sliced smoked salmon, finely chopped

4 tbls butter, softened

1/4 – 1/3 cup shallots (about 2.5 oz), minced

1/8 – 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tbls fresh lemon juice

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp drained capers

2 tsp Cognac or other brandy

Zest of one lemon (freshly grated)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To Make:

In a shallow skillet large enough to hold the fresh salmon, bring 1.5 cups water and 1.5 cups wine to a gentle boil.  Add the fresh salmon, reduce the heat, and poach at a bare simmer until the salmon is just cooked through (about 4 minutes).  Remove from the poaching liquid and let cool.

Flake the fresh salmon, chop the smoked salmon and add both to your serving dish.  Stir in the butter, shallots, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, capers, Cognac, and lemon zest until well blended.  The final dish should be well mixed but with some texture to the fish.  Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight, until firm.

To Serve:

Serve spread on toasts or hearty crackers.  Allow the dish to come to room temperature before serving.  Makes about 2 cups.  Recipe can easily be doubled.

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Filed under Appetizers, Fish, Gluten-Free

Smoky Peanuts

Smoky Peanuts

 

This Sunday is Easter Sunday (if you’re of a certain faith).  It’s a family day.  A day for Easter egg hunts, family brunches, and that sort of thing.  However, for those of us in Red Sox Nation, we know this day by its other name, Opening Day.  Not only is it Opening Day, we’re playing host to the Evil Empire.  Like Boston Mayor Menino said in 2004, “‘Much like a cookie, I predict the Yankee dynasty will crumble and the results will be delicious for Red Sox fans.”  (gotta love the food reference). 

Smoked Tea Leaves

 

Baseball has me thinking snack food for watching the game.  Want to put out something special for this special Sunday night game?  Try these quick and easy smoky peanuts.  Baseball and peanuts go hand and hand.  The sugar and salt make for an irresistible sweet and savory combination.  The hints of smoke from the tea leaves haunts your mind.  Personally, I’m a big fan of smoked foods and have almost become desensitized to most mildly smoked foods.  When I make this again (and there’s no question that I will make these again), I’ll double the amount of smoked tea leaves to enhance the smoke flavor. 

Peanuts and Peanuts Tossed in Goodness on the Baking Sheet

 

Smoky Peanuts 

Adapted from Gourmet Today 

Ingredients: 

1 tbls lightly beaten egg white 

1 tsp sugar 

3/4 tsp Lapsang Souchong tea leaves, crushed with the side of a large heavy knife if coarse 

1/4 tsp salt 

1 cup salted cocktail peanuts 

parchment paper 

To Make: 

Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Whisk together egg white, sugar, tea, and salt in a small bowl.  Stir in peanuts and spread in one layer on baking sheet. 

Bake, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are dry, about 10 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet on a rack for about 20 minutes.  Nuts will crisp as they cool. 

To Serve: 

Do I really need to tell you how to serve peanuts?  I thought not.

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Filed under Appetizers, Recipes, Vegetarian

Gougeres (aka French Cheese and Bacon Puffs)

Gougeres (aka French Cheese and Bacon Puffs)

The weekend is almost here.  Do you have any big plans?  If you are doing any entertaining and need something that is both easy and impressive, look no further than these delicious appetizers.  

Golden and delicious butter

These cheesy, crispy puffs are French so they add instant panache to your appetizer spread.  Plus, they have bacon and everything is better with bacon.  They are light and airy with fluffy insides and, the best part, they are really easy to pull together.

Dough ball

Boil (yes, boil) some butter and water, stir in flour until you get a dough ball that somewhat resembles a thick roux, and then beat in eggs until you get the most beautiful and glossy batter you have ever seen.  Fold in grated Gruyere cheese and crispy hunks of  bacon and you are nearing appetizer nirvana.

Batter after beating the eggs in

Once these beauties come out of oven, all golden and crispy, do your best to wait until your guests arrive before you devour them.

Unbaked puffs

Gougeres (aka French Cheese and Bacon Puffs)

Adapted from The Bacon Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 cup water

8 tbls (1 stick) butter

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

1/2 pound slab bacon, rind removed, finely diced

1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

To Make:

In a heavy saucepan, combine the water, butter, and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, add the flour, and beat with a wooden spoon till a ball of dough forms.  Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating with an electric mixer on high speed till the batter is just thick enough to hold soft peaks.  Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill briefly.

In a large skillet, fry the bacon dice over moderate heat till crisp and drain on paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Butter a large baking dish.  Fold the cheese and bacon into the prepared batter till well blended, then drop by tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet.  Bake the puffs for 30 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the stand till they are golden and crisp, about 10 minutes.  Serve the puffs warm.

To Serve:

Makes about 36 puffs.  Serves 8-10 as appetizers (or 2 people who can’t stop eating the bacon-y deliciousness).

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Filed under Appetizers, Baked goods, Recipes

Blue Cheese Yogurt Dip

Dip with Chip
A Dip Worthy of a Strong Chip

Alex, I’ll take “Party Food” for $600.

A:  This food is something that every chip needs. 

Q:  What is a delicious dip?

I had the guys over for football this past Sunday.  I contemplated serving your run-of-the-mill sour cream dip, but I am not a run-of-the-mill kind of guy.  After having watched Bobby Flay make this dip on Boy Meets Grill, I decided it was time to try something different. 

Dip Unmixed

Ready to Mix

This dip is simple to make, requires only a few ingredients, and is most excellent.  This is a hearty dip that demands a nice thick potato chip to stand up to it.  Also, there’s no reason why only potato chips should get to swim in this dip.  Serve it alongside of a nice steak, stir it into mashed potatoes, use it for crudite, spread it on a burger – the possibilities are endless.

Blue Cheese Yogurt Dip

Adapted from Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

1 Pint Greek Style Yogurt

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

3 scallions, finely chopped

3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled 

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

In a bowl fold together the yogurt, red onion, scallions, and blue cheese.  This dip really did benefit from adding salt and pepper to taste.  It should sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.  We made our dip the night before.  The next day, some of the whey had separated out from the yogurt, but a quick stir reintegrated it nicely.

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Filed under Appetizers, Recipes, Vegetarian