INFORMAL GET-TOGETHERS are popular during the holidays and with good reason. A menu of cocktails and appetizers is more economical and less time-consuming than a sit-down DTC dinner.
We asked Maryland caterers and restaurants for their favorite, show-stopping hors d'oeuvres. These luxury finger foods could be the centerpiece of your buffet. Fill in with less expensive, tried-and-true favorites such as chips and dips.
This beautiful recipe is from the Classic Catering People in Owings Mills.
Christmas Crab Quesadillas
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 whole shallot (or 2 or 3 green onions) finely minced
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1/2 pound lump crab meat, picked over to remove shells
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon chopped dill
Salt to taste
Hot pepper flakes to taste
6 10-inch flour tortillas, room temperature
3/4 cup grated Monterery Jack Cheese
1/2 cup each finely chopped red and green pepper
Radicchio leaves, three per plate
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Reserve two tablespoons of butter. Place remaining butter in saucepan and melt over low heat.Add shallots and chives. Saute until translucent. Remove from heat and add crab, sour cream, dill, salt and hot pepper flakes. Mix well.
Spread crab mixture on one half of tortilla. Top with sprinkling of grated cheese. Fold tortillas in half and place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Brush tops of tortillas with butter.
Bake in preheated oven about five minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let rest five minutes before cutting into quarters.
Place three small radicchio leaves on each plate. Fill one with sour cream, one with guacamole and one with salsa. Arrange three triangles of quesadilla on plate. Sprinkle plate with confetti of green and red peppers. Serves eight.
B6 This delicious recipe is from Hersh's Orchard Inn.
Don't overcrowd the fryer or saucepan when making these crab fritters -- don't make more than five fritters at a time.
Also, be certain to slide the fritters gently into the hot oil. Dropping them from a height can make the hot oil splash.
Turn the fritters frequently as they fry, making sure that all sides are browned.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound crabmeat
3/4 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
4 large egg whites, divided
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Curry sauce, recipe below
Mix first five ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Let batter stand for one hour at room temperature. Mix crabmeat, breadcrumbs, two egg whites and parsley in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 24 mounds. Press each mound firmly into ball. Roll each crabmeat ball in flour. Shake off excess. Immediately before frying, beat remaining two egg whites in small bowl to stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into batter.
Heat oil in deep fryer or heavy large saucepan to 360 degrees. Dip crab balls, one at a time, into batter, coating completely. Carefully lower into oil. Repeat with remaining crab balls, cooking until pale and golden brown, about five minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer fritters to paper towels and drain. Serve with sauce. Makes 24.
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chutney
To make sauce: heat oil in heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute one minute. Add curry and stir one minute. Transfer mixture to blender. Add all remaining ingredients and -- blend until smooth. Pour into bowl.
Executive chef Guy Reinbold of Stouffer Harborplace Hotel says this appetizer is very popular this year.
6 large shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied
3 ounces horseradish, squeezed dry
6 slices bacon
Sauce remoulade, recipe below
Fill opening of shrimp with horseradish. Wrap each shrimp tightly with slice of bacon. Secure with wooden toothpick. Bake at 375 degrees until brown. Place on warmed platter and serve with sauce remoulade. Serves two as an appetizer.
1 pint mayonnaise
1 ounce capers, drained and chopped
1 ounce cornichons, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chervil, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and mix well.
I= The Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel sent us this rich recipe.
Duck in Filo
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 stalk celery, julienned
1/2 small onion, julienned
1 roasted duck, available from Chinese restaurants
6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 pinch ginger
1/8 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1/8 cup cornstarch
1 package filo, available in the frozen food section
1/4 pound melted butter
2 tablespoons water
In large preheated skillet or wok, add sesame oil and quickly stir fry vegetables. While vegetable are still crispy, add duck and saute just long enough for meat to be hot. Add all liquid ingredients, except water and butter. Add spices. Dissolve cornstarch in water. Bring duck mixture to a light boil and add starch. Simmer for five minutes and allow to cool. Layer four sheets of filo dough brushing each layer with butter. Place duck mixture at edge of dough, about the thickness of a golf ball and roll. Bake in oven at 350 degrees until golden brown.