Holiday appetizers are often regarded as a part of an elegant, sit-down dinner. On such an occasion, fine china, elegant table linens and multiple courses of sumptuous fare abound.
But during the busy holiday season, one cannot forget about simpler affairs, such as open-house parties which favor buffet-style holiday appetizers that can be spread out on a table or countertop or offered on serving trays.
Hors d’oeuvres are always popular at holiday parties because they are the perfect foods to eat between sips of a drink. Hors d’oeuvres should be both delicious and pleasing to the eye. Our recipes for holiday appetizers are designed to do just that. Prepare a batch of spicy Jamaican Shrimp and Red Pepper Bruschetta for your next holiday gathering.
Makes 10 to 12 Appetizer Servings
- 2 pounds fresh or frozen large shrimp, in shells
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (recipe follows)
- 1 medium mango, peeled, pitted, sliced and halved crosswise
- 1 small lime, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- In a large saucepan, cook fresh or frozen shrimp, uncovered, in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain immediately and cool. Peel shrimp, leaving tails intact; devein. Place shrimp in a heavy plastic bag. At this point, you can seal the bag and chill for up to 24 hours.
- For the marinade, in a screw-top jar, combine the oil, white wine vinegar, lime juice, pepper, honey and Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. Cover and shake well until mixed. Pour over shrimp in plastic bag. Cover and chill shrimp for 1 hour, turning bag occasionally.
- To serve, drain shrimp, reserving marinade. In a large serving bowl, layer shrimp, mango, lime slices and onion. Drizzle reserved marinade on top.
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Makes 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until well blended.
Red Pepper Bruschetta
Makes 8 bruschetta
- 1 1/4 cups seedless red raspberry preserves
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 bias-cut slices (about 3/4 inch thick) Italian country bread
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 7 ounces roasted red pepper, drained and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
- Chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano and thyme
- Stir together the preserves, vinegar and garlic; set aside.
- Toast or lightly grill bread slices. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese with preserves mixture.
- Spread cheese mixture on top of bread slices and garnish each with red pepper strips. Sprinkle finely chopped herbs on top of bread slices and serve immediately.
How to Peel and Devein Shrimp
To peel shrimp, use your fingers to open the shell lengthwise down the body. Starting at the head end, peel back the shell. Gently pull on the tail portion of the shell to remove it.
To devein shrimp, use a sharp knife to make a shallow slit along its back from the head end to the tail. Rinse under cold running water to remove the vein, using the tip of a knife, if necessary.
Fresh shrimp should be moist and firm, have translucent flesh and smell fresh. Signs of poor quality are an ammonia-like smell and blackened edges or spots on the shells.