Healthy Holiday Appetizers—Celebrate Seafood!
Let’s face it, when it comes to the most popular appetizer at the party it is always the boiled shrimp, but something about a big bowl of pink shrimp isn’t always appetizing! This holiday celebrate the fact that we are this close to a wealth of great seafood and use the fresh seafood in some unique and healthy appetizers. I promise that these will be just as popular as your boiled shrimp and as tasty!
Clams Casino with Pancetta
- ¾ cup finely diced pancetta
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- ⅓ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 (1½-ounce) slice day-old country white bread
- 1½ tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 36 littleneck clams, cleaned
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pancetta to pan; cook 6 minutes or until pancetta begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook until liquid evaporates (about 30 seconds), scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add bell pepper, shallots, and garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Place pancetta mixture in a medium bowl.
- Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure about ¾ cup. Add breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, and black pepper to pancetta mixture; stir until blended.
- Preheat broiler. Discard any clams with broken or open shells. Shuck clams; discard top halves of shells. Top each clam with about 1 rounded teaspoon pancetta mixture. Broil 4 minutes; turn pan. Broil an additional 3 minutes or until tops are browned and clams are done. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
Serves 12, 3 clams each. Each serving contains: 61 calories, 2.9 g fat, 5.3 g protein, 3.2 g carbohydrate, 0.1 g fiber, 15 mg cholesterol, 163 mg sodium, 25 mg calcium.
Caramelized Onion and Shrimp Bruschetta
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 cups chopped yellow onions
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 24 thin slices baguette, toasted
- 24 peeled and deveined cooked shrimp, (26-30 per pound)
- Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water; set aside for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened and beginning to color, 5 to 10 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, 15 to 25 minutes more.
- Drain and chop the raisins; add to the onions along with capers, dill, pepper and salt. Cook uncovered, stirring, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Top each slice of bread with 1 tablespoon onion spread and 1 shrimp.
Yields 2 dozen bruschetta. Each bruschetta contains: 61 calories, 2 g calories, 26 mg cholesterol, 8 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 1 g fiber, 100 mg sodium, 95 mg potassium.
Southern Barbecue Shrimp Dip
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup chili sauce
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- 1¼ pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp, tails removed
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 scallions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Crackers and crunchy rustic bread for serving
- Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the chili sauce, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire, cayenne, oregano, paprika and hot sauce. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until they are pink and just cooked through, flipping once, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- When cool, place the shrimp mixture in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. (The shrimp mixture can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated.)
- Combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a large bowl and stir vigorously with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the shrimp mixture, scallion whites, parsley, 1¼ teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper and stir to combine. Place in a 5-cup broiler-safe casserole dish and spread evenly.
- Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and pour over the top of the shrimp dip, making sure to cover the entire surface with a thin layer of butter. Sprinkle with the scallion greens. Chill for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
- Just before serving, position an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the broiler. Broil the dip until the butter layer just begins to melt. Serve with the crackers and crunchy bread.
Muffin Tin Crab Cakes
- 1 pound crabmeat
- 2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- ½ red bell pepper, minced
- 3 scallions, sliced
- ¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg white
- 10 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 6 lemon wedges, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Generously coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray.
- Mix crab, breadcrumbs, bell pepper, scallions, mayonnaise, eggs, egg white, hot sauce, celery salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups. Bake until crispy and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
Serves 6, 2 crab cakes each. Each serving contains: 183 calories, 5 g fat, 124 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrate, 2 g added sugar, 21 g protein, 6 g fiber, 574 mg sodium, 96 mg potassium.
Down East Oyster Bisque
- 2 dozen small oysters
- 1 quart seafood stock (such as Kitchen Basics)
- 1¾ cups diced peeled red potato
- 1 cup diced peeled carrot
- 1 cup chopped leek, white part only
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives
- Shuck oysters, reserving oyster liquid. Strain oyster liquid through a sieve over a large saucepan. Pick over oysters to remove any bits of shell. Chill oysters.
- Add stock and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) to oyster liquid; bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Place half of stock mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining stock mixture.
- Return pureed soup to saucepan; bring to a simmer. Stir in half-and-half and oysters; simmer 2 minutes or until oyster edges curl; stir in chives.
Serves 8, serving ¾ cup. Each serving contains: 82 calories, 2.2 g fat, 4.5 g protein, 11.7 g carbohydrate, 1.6 g fiber, 18 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 34 mg calcium.