What do we want for 4th of July nibbling? We want appetizers that are seasonal in ingredients and/or method of preparation, achievable without stove top or oven, and lookin’ fab on patriotic party tableware. It’s a tall order, but we’ve succeeded in identifying four killer concoctions we’re unabashedly calling Chill, Fill, Grill and Dill!
Chill: Prosciutto Wrapped Melon with Shrimp and Basil
Dan Eaton of NY1 Living crosses the classic prosciutto-wrapped melon with shrimp-and-melon cocktail. The progeny are bite-sized delights.
3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
1 lb. cooked cocktail shrimp
12 basil leaves
salt and pepper
Slice the cantaloupe into a couple dozen bite-sized chunks of ½” thickness. Look at the shrimp and if necessary cut them to be similarly bite-sized. Toss the shrimp in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Place them in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the appetizers.
Slice the prosciutto into strips as wide as the cantaloupe chunks (you can do this in advance, but don’t assemble anything until serving time, and keep all ingredients chilled until then). Wrap each strip around a cantaloupe chunk. Tear basil leaves in half and put a leaf half – folded if necessary – onto each wrapped cantaloupe chunk. Place a shrimp (piece) on top and secure the bite firmly with party picks.
Fill: Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives
You can pay up to $36 for an imported jar of pre-stuffed olives, so doing it yourself makes a lot of sense!
Choose whatever color/type olives you like, as long as they’re fairly large and reasonably firm. Also, use a pastry bag to fill them because other methods tend to nurture the impulse to throw the whole shebang against the wall, especially if you’re doubling or tripling the recipe!
Use about 3-4 ounces of cheese to about two dozen pitted olives. Cream the blue cheese before putting it in the pastry bag. If the cheese is too stiff, let it sit at room temperature a little longer before creaming.
Place a plain, fine tip on the pastry bag. After filling, chill olives thoroughly before serving.
Grill: Ginger Beef Bites
This savory, spicy grilled appetizer is adapted from a recipe found in 365 Great Barbecue & Grilling Recipes by Lonnie Gandara.
6 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ c. each chopped fresh ginger, soy sauce, dry sherry, rice wine vinegar and peanut oil
3 lbs. top round stead, trimmed of fat and cut into 1” cubes
Thoroughly combine all ingredients except the meat, then add the meat and toss to coat. Refrigerate eight hours or overnight.
Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Thread 2 or 3 chunks of meat onto each skewer. Grill the skewers over a hot fire for 4-5 minutes, turning once during that time and using reserved marinade to baste them. They should be browned on the outside while pink on the inside.
Dill: Cucumber-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Here’s a wonderfully cool, seasonal and very pretty appetizer from Taste of Home.com.
24 cherry tomatoes
1 package cream cheese, softened
2 T. mayonnaise
1/4 c. peeled, minced cucumber
1 T. finely chopped green onion
2 T. minced fresh dill plus more for garnish
salt and pepper
Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Scoop out and discard pulp; invert tomatoes onto paper towels to drain for 30 minutes.
Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth; stir in the cucumber, onion, dill and seasonings to taste. Fill tomatoes with the mixture and chill them thoroughly. Garnish with reserved dill just before serving these beauties on a clear tray from catering supplies.
Find more serving (and decorating!) ideas for the 4th of July in Patriotic Party Supplies.