Posts Tagged ‘appetizer’

These shrimp are one of our most popular catering appetizers…and for good reason. They are the perfect, light starter for a summer dinner party. Most traditional recipes use shrimp that have been boiled or poached and a overly tangy cocktail sauce that masks the delicate essence of the shrimp. We like to intensify the shrimp and make it the star. Instead of cooking the shrimp the traditional way, which leaves all the shellfish flavor in the water, we decided to grill them to maximize the flavor. We toss the shrimp with a little rosemary and lemon, then throw the little guys on a hot grill to get that charred flavor. Grilling them with the tails on retains more of the natural shrimp flavor, as well as providing a natural place to grab and dip. Our cocktail sauce incorporates freshly roasted tomatoes and garlic which mellows the tang of the ketchup and horseradish. It is a modern spin on a traditional sauce that doesn’t compete with the succulent flavor of the shrimp. The best part is both the shrimp and the cocktail sauce can be made ahead since the shrimp is served cold, so you can kick back and enjoy your summer soiree!

Lemon-Rosemary Grilled Shrimp with Roasted Tomato Cocktail Sauce

makes 24 shrimp and 1 cup of sauce

24 tail-on shrimp (16-20 count), patted very dry

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1 lemon, zested

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

4 roma tomatoes, halved and seeded

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup horseradish

lemon juice, a splash

Preheat a grill or indoor grill pan to high. Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and rosemary. Place shrimp on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until curled slightly and bright pink.  Let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile toss the tomatoes and garlic cloves with a drizzle of olive oil  and spread out on a roasting pan. Roast until softened and charred in spots about 20 minutes. In a food processor, combine the roasted tomatoes, garlic, ketchup and horseradish until smooth. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to your liking. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve the sauce in a bowl for dipping. The shrimp are best served hot off the grill OR cold out of the fridge the next day.


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These little fritters are always a hit at our catered event…there’s something about a crispy vegetable that is so appealing! We make many variations on this recipe, substituting the zucchini with shredded raw butternut squash, carrots, sweet potato, yellow squash. But these are my personal favorite — they are light and delicate on the inside and crispy on the outside, topped with a creamy dollop of ricotta. Just be sure to squeeze the shredded raw vegetables very dry before moving on with the recipe…otherwise you’ll have soggy fritters. Also, don’t skip topping the ricotta with plenty of cracked black pepper just before serving (or red chili flakes if you like some heat) — it’s that tasty final touch that puts these over the edge.

Zucchini Fritters with Ricotta & Mint

makes about 25 fritters

4 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (makes about 6-7 cups)

2 tbl finely chopped scallions

2 tbl finely chopped dil

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup crumbled feta

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

vegetable oil, for frying

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup chopped mint

Place the shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of salt. Toss and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Rinse lightly and squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible and transfer to a bowl.
Add the scallions, dill, flour, baking soda, feta, egg, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 1/2-inch of vegetable oil to a wide pan. Add heaping tablespoons of the batter to the pan and cook until golden. Flip and cook until golden and cooked through on the second side. Remove and place on a paper-towel-lined pan to remove excess oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt as soon as they come out of the oil.
Whisk the ricotta and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve the fritters hot topped with ricotta and some fresh mint and final sprinkle of cracked black pepper.

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