As the More is More Mom®, I’m always up for more fun with family and friends. We’ve barely scratched the surface of our Safari Cocktail and Appetizer Party. You may recall that the stage is all set to greet our guests with a cool and refreshing beverage (detailed 7/28/10).
As for the menu, the warm weather beckoned a selection of delicious, cold appetizers;
- Prosciutto Wrapped Mango Slices (recipe revealed 7-28-10)
- Shrimp Cocktail in a tangy homemade sauce
- Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Spears
- Greek Salsa and Pita Chips
The beauty of all the recipes that I am sharing with you today is that they are largely prepared in advance, leaving a little bit of assembly just before your first guest arrives.
Nothing says over the top indulgence better than Shrimp Cocktail (except maybe caviar, but who really wants to eat all of those little fish eggs anyway?) served in an elegant martini glass. Now that’s instant glamour.
Shrimp Cocktail in a tangy homemade sauce:
To serve 6;
2 lbs cooked peeled shrimp, tails cut off and chopped into chunks (any size will do)
½ – 1 lb cooked peeled Jumbo shrimp. We’re going to artfully arrange a few tails over the rim of the glass for each guest. Beautiful!
Note: For the sake of simplicity and my sanity, I defrost my shrimp the evening before I am going to serve it. I store them in a Ziploc Baggie, lined with a paper towel (I prefer Bounty, the quicker picker upper. This is not a paid advertisement, darn it. I just so happen to be fan!). Rarely do I serve shrimp cocktail individually. As a rule I serve it in a silver platter that I toss in the freezer before the party to help the shrimpies stay nice and cold, but not soggy as they tend to get when directly served on ice.
In a mix bowl, lightly whip;
4 Tbsp heavy cream
4 Tbsp mayonnaise (am I a looser for using Hellman’s when I could have made it from scratch? I like to think that I am being practical. As it is, I could be using store bought cocktails sauce!)
4 Tbsp ketchup (now you know it’s good)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Juice of one lemon…..which in my mind translates to a few tablespoons of bottled real lemon juice
Add more lemon juice as needed to make the sauce super tangy.
Stir in the chopped shrimp. Transfer to a container with a lid if you are leaving it in the refrigerator over night.
1 head of Romaine lettuce, rough chopped (or any other hearty, crisp lettuce)
Fill each glass about 1/3 of the way with the lettuce.
Spoon the shrimp mixture over the lettuce, evenly amongst the 6 glasses.
Drape a few jumbo shrimp over the side of each martini glass.
For maximum impact, I placed all 6 martini glasses on a leopard tray.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Spears:
I order a grilled chicken Caesar salad at nearly every establishment I patronize, so I’m kind of an expert. The individual spears were a party in your mouth! I tossed myself a little salad with the left over dressing a few days later and I’m telling you, there’s not a Caesar salad out there that rivaled it…..
This recipe makes approximately 20 spears.
Grill, on medium heat;
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
Once the chicken cooled, I sliced each strip in half making it a more manageable serving size. As is my M.O., I placed the chicken in a Ziploc Baggie lined with a Bounty paper towel and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
The dressing was so tasty, you may want to double the recipe so you have more for later. In a bowl combine;
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3-4 cloves of garlic minced (there is nothing wrong with garlic, especially if we are all having it)
1 tsp anchovy paste (I don’t care for anchovies, but the paste is essential to achieving that classic Caesar status)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (and maybe a splash more)
1 tsp dry mustard
Mix well and store in a bowl with a lid overnight.
2-3 heads of small romaine lettuce leaves. I used endive instead because it was the perfect size.
Separate the lettuce leaves.
Place 2 strips of grilled chicken in the leaf (it makes a nice little cradle)
Plop a dollop of dressing on top of the chicken
Garnish with shaved Parmesan (use your vegetable peeler to create perfect shavings)
If it floats your boat, top with capers.
Artfully arrange the spears on a platter and serve to the “oohs and ahs” of your guests.
Greek Salsa with Pita Chips:
The Mediterranean flavors are a welcome respite from your more traditional salsa.
In a medium bowl, combine;
2 cups of crumbled feta cheese (Costco sells huge containers of feta, of course, because everything is huge at Costco)
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
5 scallions, whites and greens, chopped
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup Kalamata olives pitted and rough chopped
½ cup fresh, flat leaf parsley chopped (fresh just tastes like summer)
2 Tbsp fresh oregano chopped (fresh oregano is so flavorful)
2 Tbsp fresh dill chopped (okay, I know, enough with the fresh, but is just tastes so FRESH)
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 -1/2 cup of olive oil (add slowly to see how much you really need. You just want a very light coating)
Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours, but overnight is even better.
When you are ready to serve, transfer to a pretty bowl. I chose a lovely cut crystal to equal the formality of the martini glasses.
Serve with pita chips. I like Stacy’s in the jumbo bag from Costco, though you could certainly toast your own. Instead of tossing the chips in a predictable bowl, I served them in a cheetah patterned planter (that I only use for food service). I like the shape and whimsy of the planter.
Should you have any salsa left over, you might enjoy it spooned over a grilled chicken or fish on another night.
I hope you have as much fun with this menu as we did. What could be better than more time with friends on a beautiful summer night with more delectable dishes, more laughs, more good times and more memories?