50 Finger Foods with Attitude
6 x 8 in; 132 pp ; 24 color photos
Published in August, 1999
A taste of recipes from the book:
Toasted Pecan and English Stilton Napoleons
These bite-sized sandwiches are ambrosia for cheese and nut lovers. And the presentation is impressive for such a simple-to-prepare hors d’oeuvre. If you reduce the recipe, do not use a food processor; make the cheese mixture by hand. Chop extra chives and sprinkle them on to a plate as a colorful backdrop for the napoleons.
- 96 (about 5 ounces) perfect pecan halves
- 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 ounces Stilton cheese, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons port
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- Pinch of cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake until brown and aromatic, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Combine the cream cheese, Stilton, port, honey, and pepper together in a food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to a plastic bag and squeeze mixture into one corner.
To assemble: Spread 24 pecan halves flat-side down on the sheet tray. Cut a small tip off the corner of the bag of cheese mixture. Pipe about 1/4 teaspoon of the cheese mixture evenly onto each pecan half. Top with a second pecan, flat-side down, and pipe about 1/4 teaspoon of the cheese mixture onto each napoleon. Sprinkle with chopped chives to garnish.
Do-ahead tips: The pecans can be toasted up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container. The Stilton mixture can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated; bring it to room temperature before assembly. Assemble up to 3 hours in advance and let sit at room temperature.
Yield: 48 napoleons
Open Sesame Shrimp
Sesame-Crusted Shrimp with Tahini-Ginger Dipping Sauce
Showcase these shrimp with Kamikazes. When serving this dish, be sure to set out a small container for the tails and place a tail in it so guests follow the example.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 24 medium (about 1 pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds or 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
To make the dipping sauce: Combine the mayonnaise, tahini, mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, grated ginger, and sesame oil together in a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Toss the shrimp in a bowl with the oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Dip one side of each shrimp in the sesame seeds. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, sesame seed-side up. Bake until the shrimp are opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
Do-ahead tips: The dipping sauce can be prepared 3 days in advance. The shrimp can be prepared up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated.
Yield: 24 shrimp
Spicy Tuna Tartare on Wonton Squares
Even the staunchest of sushi opponents are won over by this robust flavor combination. Purchase only sashimi-quality tuna when preparing this recipe. Look for it at upscale supermarkets and specialty seafood stores.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Twelve 3-by-3 1/2-inch square wonton wrappers, cut into quarters
- 10 ounces sashimi-quality tuna, cut into 1/8-inch dice, chilled
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onions, green part only
- 3 tablespoons pinenuts, toasted
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño, seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Brush a baking sheet with the oil. Arrange the wonton squares on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
Mix the tuna, green onions, pinenuts, soy sauce, sesame oil, jalapeño, and ginger together in a medium bowl. Mix well. Use immediately. Do not mix in advance.
To assemble: Place 1 heaping teaspoon of the tuna mixture on each wonton square. Serve immediately. It is very important that the tuna is very cold.
Do-ahead tips: The wonton squares can be baked up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container. The tuna can be diced up to 12 hours in advance and refrigerated.
Yield: 48 topped wontons
Figs in a Blanket
Fresh Figs with Gorgonzola and Prosciutto
This simple yet complex combination of flavors is unbeatable if the figs are perfect. They must be ripe, but not too soft. Try using green as well as purple figs for variety if they are available.
- 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
- 6 small to medium figs, cut into quarters, stems discarded
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil (see Note)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut into 1 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch strips
Place about 1/2 teaspoon of gorgonzola on each fig quarter, pressing gently into the bottom portion of each piece. Place figs on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet.
Mix the vinegar, oil, kosher salt, and pepper together in a small bowl using a whisk.
To assemble: Brush each fig with the vinegar mixture and wrap the bottom portion with a strip of prosciutto.
Do-ahead tips: The figs can be assembled up to 1 hour in advance and covered with plastic wrap. Do not refrigerate.
Note: California Press walnut oil is our favorite, which is available in many specialty food stores. (Or call 707-944-1673 for ordering information.)
Yield: 24 fig quarters
Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Skewers
The lineup of red tomato, white mozzarella, and green basil makes these skewers an optical treat. Savor this hors d’oeuvre during the summer when tomatoes are at their peak. Try alternating the red cherry tomatoes with yellow pear tomatoes if they are available.
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into twenty-four 1/2-inch cubes (fresh mozzarella is best)
- 24 small to medium fresh basil leaves
- 24 small (or 12 large, cut in half) cherry tomatoes, preferably Sweet 100s
- 24 five-inch bamboo skewers
Combine the balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon of the kosher salt in a small bowl using a whisk. Set aside.
Toss the mozzarella with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Season to taste with kosher salt. (This may not be necessary depending on the taste of the mozzarella; taste before seasoning with additional salt.)
To assemble: Slide 1 cherry tomato onto a skewer. Fold 1 basil leaf in half; slide onto the skewer. Add 1 piece of mozzarella. Repeat until all of the ingredients have been used. Place skewers on a plate and brush with the balsamic vinaigrette. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.
Do-ahead tips: The balsamic vinaigrette can be prepared 3 days in advance and refrigerated. Assemble the skewers and cover with plastic wrap up to 3 hours in advance. Do not refrigerate. Serve as directed.
Yield: 24 skewers