Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Appetizers in 30 minutes

I made these two appetizers for Thanksgiving this year, and every last one of them was gobbled up -  in way less time than it took me to make them. These classic flavor  combinations were easy to shop for (so easy that Mike could do the shopping for me!) easy to throw together, and easy to put my own twist on.

Black Pepper Potato Chips with Lemon Creme, Smoked Salmon and Chives

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: None!
Ingredients: 5

1 bag kettle cooked black pepper potato chips, any brand
1 container creme fraiche
1 Meyer lemon
8 oz. smoked salmon (I used a black pepper-crusted smoked fillet of salmon, but lox would be great, too)
3-4 chives or green onions

Dump the creme fraiche into a mixing bowl, and combine with the zest and juice of half the lemon. Put in the fridge. Gently flake the salmon into bite-sized chunks with a knife or fork (if using a fillet, beware of bones!), or slice if using lox. Finely chop the chives. Lay nice, round, unbroken chips on a pretty platter. Remove the lemony creme fraiche from the fridge. Dab a small spoonful onto a chip, taking care to use enough to taste, but no so much that it spills over the edge of the chip. Gently tuck some salmon into the creamy base, and top with chives. Repeat. You may need to sample several chips, to get the creme-to-salmon-to-chives ratio just right (I did!). If you really wanted to go nuts, you could finish with some grated zest and a grinding of fresh black pepper. I didn't, because time was running out, but they were fabulous anyway!

Dried Figs with Goat Cheese and Prosciutto

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: None!
Ingredients: 3

1 bag dried figs
1/4 lb good prosciutto
1 log chevre (The tarted-up kind, with herbs, or pepper, or edible flowers would be amazing in this bite. I wanted to use my favorite - Purple Haze with lavender and fennel pollen - but I waited too long to gather ingredients, and it was gone. Next time!)

Stuff a nice-sized little nugget of room temperature goat cheese into a fig half. Wrap it with a thin slice of prosciutto. Repeat. That's it! This little bite has all kinds of possibilities - instead of figs, you could use dates. Or sun-dried tomatoes. Or olives. Or you could shape the goat cheese around dried cherries. Instead of goat cheese, you could use brie. Or gorgonzola. Basically, what I'm saying is that this appetizer is fool proof! Especially when served with holiday booze.

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