Our Best Party Appetizers

Spread the love for your favorite seafood, from crab to salmon, with these crowd-pleasing appetizers.

Recipes for Tapenade Twists

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Tapenade Twists

These salty snacks are great with beer and tart cocktails, such as margaritas.

Hot Crab and Shrimp Dip recipe

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Hot Crab and Shrimp Dip

This hearty spread needs sturdy dippers, such as crostini or stone-ground crackers.

Cod, Artichoke, and White Bean Dip recipe

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Cod, Artichoke, and White Bean Dip

This recipe is great for leftover fish! For single servings, spoon dip onto steamed artichoke leaves.

Curried Coconut Shrimp Balls recipe

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Curried Coconut Shrimp Balls

Use disposable bamboo spoons and make cleanup a snap; pack of 25 for $9.49, webstaurantstore.com.

Bite-size Wasabi Crab Cakes recipe

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Bite-size Wasabi Crab Cakes

The crab cake mixture can be made several hours ahead. After they’re cooked, keep them warm in a 200° oven for up to an hour.

Scallop-Spinach Spread recipe

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Scallop-Spinach Spread

Offer a mix of hot and cold appetizers so you can replenish cold apps while the hot ones are baking.

Crab, Mango, and Cashew Dip recipe

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Crab, Mango, and Cashew Dip

Fresh lump crab is the gold standard, but can be quite pricey. Alternatives include refrigerated, pasteurized cans or shelf-stable cans and pouches.

Smoked Salmon and Clam Spread recipe

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Smoked Salmon and Clam Spread

Hot smoked salmon has a long shelf life, so keep some on hand for impromptu snacks.

Smoked Salmon and Fingerling Potatoes recipe

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Smoked Salmon and Fingerling Potatoes

Use sustainable caviar. One of our favorites is beet and saffron whitefish roe, $20; 800/952-2842 or tsarnicoulai.com.

Peppered Pancetta-Wrapped Shrimp recipe

Photographer Howard L. Puckett

Peppered Pancetta-Wrapped Shrimp

Soak wooden skewers in water at least 30 minutes before grilling to prevent charring.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Beef Tenderloin Yakitori

Photographer Jennifer Davick

Beef Tenderloin Yakitori

For a bargain-friendly version of this recipe pick more affordable cuts of beef (chuck, round, or flank) and weave thin strips onto skewers.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Grilled Shrimp with Rémoulade

Photographer Jennifer Davick

Grilled Shrimp with Rémoulade

Think of this recipe as a deconstructed Shrimp Po' Boy without the bread. Marinated and grilled shrimp get even more flavor from a tangy rémoulade with capers, lemon juice and a dash of hot sauce.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Cheese Puffs

Photographer Jennifer Davick

Cheese Puffs

Almost any flavorful cheese works in these light-as-air bites. Try Cheddar in place of the Gruyère, and stir in 3 slices chopped cooked bacon or prosciutto. Or substitute 1⁄4 cup crumbled blue cheese, and add 1⁄4 cup finely chopped pecans.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Taramasalata with Pita Chips

Photographer Jennifer Davick

Taramasalata with Pita Chips

Taramasalata is a creamy Greek dip featuring carp roe, or tarama. A popular brand of roe, Krinos Tarama ($7), is available nationwide at specialty foods stores or at amazon.com. Get creative: Use golden whitefish roe ($12 for 2 ounces), available at californiacaviar.com. Save black roe for other uses; it will turn this dip an unappetizing gray color.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Sweet and Spicy Asian Nuts

Photographer Jennifer Davick

Sweet and Spicy Asian Nuts

Brown sugar makes these asian-spiced nuts sweet; wasabi powder brings the heat!

Our Best Party Appetizers: Baklava Tartlets

Photographer Jennifer Davick

Baklava Tartlets

These tartlets have all the sweet and sticky goodnes of traditional baklava but come packaged in a phyllo dough cup for a crisp bite and a buttery finish.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Cranberry and Pistachio Brownie Bites

Photographer Jennifer Davick

Cranberry and Pistachio Brownie Bites

These fudgy treats—which you can make ahead and freeze in an airtight container, unsliced, for up to three weeks—are an ideal addition to a cocktail party menu.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Honeyed Olives

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Honeyed Olives

Make this flavorful appetizer up to a week early. Bring to room temperature before serving and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs or strips of lemon peel.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Basil Aïoli with Crudités

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Basil Aïoli with Crudités

Presentation is half the fun! A beautiful platter of crudités is almost too pretty to eat.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Chicken Sausage Puffs with Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Chicken Sausage Puffs with Creamy Mustard Dipping Sauce

These delightful little puff pastries taste best when served warm.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Mini Bacon Quiches

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Mini Bacon Quiches

Top these quiches with fresh thyme leaves and green onion. Bonus: This recipes tastes good both warm and at room temperature.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Scallop-and-Avocado Tostadas

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Scallop-and-Avocado Tostadas

Since the scallops take only two minutes to cook, you can make the avocado mixture ahead of time and then refrigerate until ready to cut down on prep time the day of your event.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Beef Tenderloin with Garlic-and-Merlot Jam

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Beef Tenderloin with Garlic-and-Merlot Jam

The garlic-and-merlot jam gives this recipe a special kick, but don't completely douse your meat and bread slices. A litle flavor goes a long way.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Almond Truffles

Photo: Jennifer Davick

Almond Truffles

Starting with dessert? Fine by us! These sweet truffles make the perfect before-the-meal snack.

Our Best Party Appetizers: White Chocolate-Peppermint Mousse

Photo: Jennifer Davick

White Chocolate-Peppermint Mousse

This fluffy white-chocolate mousse is a dreamy peppermint cloud. Best of all: it's make-ahead!

Our Best Tailgating Recipes: Lobster Deviled Eggs

Photographer: Becky Luigart-Staynor, Writer: Amber Sandoval-Griffin

Lobster Deviled Eggs

Give this traditional appetizer a little something extra by mixing in fresh cooked lobster meat. If you’re on a budget, you can substitute lump crabmeat or cooked, chopped shrimp.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Mini Beef Wellingtons

Recipe: Jackie Newgent, RD, Photo: Jennifer Davick, Prop Styling: Linda Hirst, Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

Mini Beef Wellingtons

The best bubbly to serve with these tasty bites? Diebolt-Vallois Champagne, NV Blanc de Blanc, 100% Chardonnay ($36):

"This bubbly is rich and toasty—just right with the herbs and flaky puff pastry," says Michael Velo, bubbly expert from the Carriage House Restaurant in Chicago.

Our Best Party Appetizers: Smoked Salmon Mousse Canapés

Recipe: Jackie Newgent, RD, Photo: Jennifer Davick, Prop Styling: Linda Hirst, Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

Smoked Salmon Mousse Canapés

The perfect sidekick to Smoked Salmon Mousse Canapés, according to Velo, is Mionetto Brut Prosecco, NV, 100% Prosecco ($14):

"The fresh white peach harmonizes with the tarragon, and the hint of sweetness cuts the richness of the salmon."

Our Best Party Appetizers: Cheesy Caramelized Onion Flatbreads

Recipe: Jackie Newgent, RD, Photo: Jennifer Davick, Prop Styling: Linda Hirst, Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

Cheesy Caramelized Onion Flatbreads

These delicious snacks pair perfectly with Domaine de Baumard Cremant de Loire "Carte Turquoise," NV, 50% Chenin Blanc, 50% Cabernet Franc ($21):

"The presence of green apple and golden raspberry pairs incredibly well with the mix of cheeses and black sesame," says Velo. Add the light acidity from this sparkling wine and it is a great match."

Our Best Party Appetizers: Goat Cheese Poppers with Honey

Recipe: Jackie Newgent, RD, Photo: Jennifer Davick, Prop Styling: Linda Hirst, Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

Goat Cheese Poppers with Honey

In addition to being a delicious appetizer, these bites are great as croutons on salads or as "meat" balls for vegetarian pasta dishes.

To sip, Velo recommends André Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, NV Grand Cru, 100% Pinot Noir ($30):

"If the lush cherry, strawberry, and cream are not enough to complement the goat cheese and spice from the black pepper and hot red pepper, the decadent, fruity finish should seal the deal."

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