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Cinco de Mayo appetizer


achevres
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I have been invited to a Cinco de Mayo party and asked to bring an appetizer for 6. I don't think it has to be Mexican, but I would like to bring something either Mexican or Southwestern in flavor or spirit (or at least South of the border). I don't want to bring salsas or guacamole or anything so predictable. Most of the interesting things I can think of need last minute attention, like fritters or gorditas etc.

I like the idea of a shrimp seviche, but it looks messy to eat standing up. Any ideas on presenting a seviche for a cocktail-type party are welcome.

I would like something that could be served room temperature and be prepared in advance. It doesn't have to be "authentic," just taste great and suitably impress :wink:. Also, I don't have time to experiment. I would like something you have made before.

Too much to ask?

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Since you brought up ceviche, you might want to take a look at this recipe for Pickled Shrimp. It is fairly neat to eat and is always a hit. You could adjust the seasoning to a more Latin approach and it would still be very good. It is definitely a "prepare ahead" dish. Actually, I don't find ceviche that messy if it is drained off before serving.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Since you brought up ceviche, you might want to take a look at this recipe for Pickled Shrimp. It is fairly neat to eat and is always a hit. You could adjust the seasoning to a more Latin approach and it would still be very good. It is definitely a "prepare ahead" dish. Actually, I don't find ceviche that messy if it is drained off before serving.

Fifi, thanks for the link and the recommendation. I couldn't remember the word "escabeche" last night, but that is the Spanish word for this type of dish and what I was really thinking about, because I would want to (really) cook the shrimp.

Gifted Gourmet, thanks for your link and I love all those foods) but I'd like to make something more unexpected. I have several Mexican cookbooks, I just can't think of something new, make-ahead and easy to serve.

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I catered a friend's birthday party last Saturday & one of the appetizers I prepared was ancho peppers stuffed with chorizo & potato & queso fresco. Rick Bayless has a similar recipe online here. His peppers are acompanied by escabeche.

"A good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Virginia Woolf

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This is something I often like to cook as a main course, but if you stabbed the individual shrimp with toothpics and served it on a big flat platter, it would also make a great appetizer:

2 Lbs Jumbo Shrimp, tails and shells removed

3 Tbs. Butter

4 Cloves Garlic

1/2 Onion, minced

4 Tbsp. Tequila

3 Tbsp. Cayenne Pepper (or you could do 2 cayenne 1 Habenero powder for extra kick)

1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1/2 Tsp. Ground Cumin

3/4 Cup Heavy Cream

1/2 Cup Frank's Red Hot (or for more kick, any better hot sauce of your choice, this is very good with a little Blair's AFter Death thrown in)

Garnish:

Shredded Jack Cheese

Sliced Avocado

Sliced Fresh Lime Wedges

Heat the butter in a pan until it stops foaming, then toss in the shrimp and quickly sautee until they are about halfway cooked. Add the chopped/crushed garlic and onions and continue to sautee while stirring. Toss in the tequila, careful of flare-ups.

Add the cream, hot sauce, and spices (all remaining ingredients) and stir thoroughly, turning heat down to low. Simmer for several minutes until shrimp are fully cooked and sauce has reduced a bit to a nice thick dark pink consistency.

Stab shrimp with toothpicks, pour remaining sauce over them, and garnish platter with plenty of sliced lime wedges, avocados, and little piles of shredded jack cheese.

This stuff also makes a great filler to fajitas when combined with fresh sliced onions, cilantro, and avocado.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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baby quesdillas are nice too ( cut with bisquit cutters ala martha) & fill with mushrooms with smoked paprika, garlic, sherry & thyme, some soft goat cheese and red onion pickled w/ lime juice & cayenne

or smoked chicken /queso fresca & tomatillo salsa

"sometimes I comb my hair with a fork" Eloise

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Maybe you could do the shrimp ceviche in an opened-faced jalepeno popper style. Take some fresh jalepenos and fire or oven roast them until the skin peels off. Peel them using some latex gloves and cut a slit in one side, remove the seeds and fill with the ceviche.

Edited by Line Cook (log)

Kiss my grits

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Maybe you could do the shrimp ceviche in an opened-faced jalepeno popper style.

Great idea! Whoever doesn't want the jalapeno (there are some wusses here in Yankee country) could just eat the shrimp.

Actually, everyone has posted great ideas. Thanks so much. I am leaning towards the shrimp escabeche in jalapeno boats--but still open to other ideas. I'll be making the shrimp recipe by NulloModo sometime for dinner. Does it have a name?

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It is an adaptation of something I have seen called 'Camarones Diablo' or 'Camarones Diablo Blanca' (which if I am reading correctly, the latter translates into 'Shrimp of the White Devil ;) )).

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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not sure if it's too late.

this isn't mexican - it's spanish, but easy and delicious.

stuffed piquillo peppers

jarred/canned piquillo peppers

canned tuna (i used albacore) drained

2-3 Tbsp olive oil - or more if it's too dry

1 tsp drained capers

1 T chopped italian parsely

1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika (any spice would be fine)

vinegar to taste - i used a splash of sherry, but balsamic would work too

3T minced red onion

basically, piquillos are the perfect ready made pouch - you just puree all the other ingredients in a cuisinart (one can of tuna makes about 20-30) and stuff the filling into the peppers with a spoon. tapa-licious.

alternatively - you can stuff piquillos with herbed goat cheese mixed with a little adobo sauce (the red sauce packed with chipotles) and green onions.

from overheard in new york:

Kid #1: Paper beats rock. BAM! Your rock is blowed up!

Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

--6 Train

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I should have been more specific, the party is Saturday May 8th. I like the piquillo peppers and will keep in mind for the future, but I was trying to stay away from Spanish cuisine, being that it is (was) Mexican independence day from Spain...I'm sure I'm the only one with such compunctions. Otherwise, I would probably make my standby room-temperature appetizer tortilla espanola, the real one made with potatoes--good at any temperature. That said, the goat cheese idea with the Mexican twist looks good and easy. I'll post after the party.

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I should have been more specific, the party is Saturday May 8th.  I like the piquillo peppers and will keep in mind for the future, but I was trying to stay away from Spanish cuisine, being that it is (was) Mexican independence day from Spain...I'm sure I'm the only one with such compunctions.  Otherwise, I would probably make my standby room-temperature appetizer tortilla espanola, the real one made with potatoes--good at any temperature.  That said, the goat cheese idea with the Mexican twist looks good and easy.  I'll post after the party.

Actually Cinco de Mayo has nothing at all to do with Mexican independence. It's a celebration of the victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla.

The Cinco de Mayo=Mexican Independence Day thing is a very common misconception.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Actually Cinco de Mayo has nothing at all to do with Mexican independence. It's a celebration of the victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla.

KatieLoeb, Thanks sooo much for the correction!

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Actually Cinco de Mayo has nothing at all to do with Mexican independence.  It's a celebration of the victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla.

KatieLoeb, Thanks sooo much for the correction!

My pleasure! :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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since we are on the topic. we are doing "mexican" for mother's day at my aunts house.

everything is pretty much covered but i was thinking about making a salad.

i am sure we will have the usual standard guac & pico de gillo (sorry, too tired to look up the correct spelling).

I was thinking about a roasted corn and maybe something else..dressed with lime juice or such..

but the question is, has anyone ever roasted frozen corn???

maybe just for a short time in the oven?

sorry, not going to grill or roast whole ears at this juncture..

so, anyone ever try it??

sure it isn't healthy, but why deny oneslf?
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I've made a roasted corn and black bean salsa for my girls using frozen corn. I browned it lightly in a pan with a little fat. Turned out pretty good, not nearly as nice as fresh corn but fresh corn is several months away where I live.

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Below is the recipe I took to the party. It was a hit. It was inspired by a recipe from Cooking Light, but I found many similar ones on Google searches. The orange juice idea came from the shrimp escabeche from Mexico The Beautiful Cookbook. Obviously, you can add other things or fiddle with the proportions to taste.

I took it in a plastic container with a bag of clear wide-mouth disposable cups, and spooned out about 4 shrimp per serving plus some veggies and sauce. Served in the cups, and with a fork, it wasn't messy at all. Don't forget to take the garlic out, like I did (no one complained). Also, I didn't put the cilantro because my husband was in such a hurry, but it was still delicious.

The party idea was good and easy. The hosts had drinks and a margarita machine and everyone brought an appetizer for 6. But…they gave no other direction, and about half the appetizers brought were shrimp.

BTW, ketchup and lime juice are used in Mexico for this type of cooked ceviche. I called it Mexican shrimp cocktail because I didn't want to get into explanations about it.

Ceviche de Camarones or Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

A:

1.5 qt water

1.5 ts salt

1/2 cup lime juice

1 sliced onion

4 cloves garlic, peeled, slice in half

B: 1.5 lb shrimp (not the big ones)

C:

1/2 sweet onion, diced (1/4 inch), soaked in cold water for 5 minutes and drained

2 jalapenos in small dice (remove veins and seeds to remove most of the heat)

1/3 cup ketchup

juice of 3 (juicy) limes

juice of 1 orange

1/3 cup prepared or homemade salsa

1/2 ts Mexican hot sauce, such as Cholula, or to taste

6 whole, peeled garlic cloves

D:

1/2 English cucumber, seeded and sliced

1 red pepper, seeded and sliced (slices about the size of a shrimp)

1/4 cup coarsely shopped cilantro

1. The day before serving: Bring ingredients in A to a boil. Add shrimp, bring to a boil, cover, take off the heat and let poach 10 minutes. Drain shrimp, peel and devein.

2. Mix ingredients in C and add the cooked and peeled shrimp. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. About 1-2 hours before serving, mix in the ingredients in D. The cilantro could be sprinkled on each serving also. Remove garlic cloves before serving.

4. For a cocktail party-sized appetizer, serve in individual portions of about 4 shrimp each and some of the vegetables.

Edited to add: Thanks to everyone for your help!

Edited by achevres (log)
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