The Recipe: X-Mas Appetizers

Christmas is around the corner and I am sure tons of you are just trying to figure out exactly what little tweaks you can make to this year’s menu to make it that much more special. I have decided to give you a head start with some fun yet easy recipes that are sure to wow your guests.

Here is the selection.


Oysters Rocafella

Contributed by Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi



  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 dozen bluepoint or other East Coast oysters, shucked on the half shell
  • Crushed ice and coarse salt, for serving
  • 1 tablespoon dried egg-white powder (see Note)
  • 1 to 2 bunches of Champagne grapes or small seedless red grapes, frozen until solid, halved if large


  1. In a microwave-safe cup, combine the sugar and water. Cook at high power for 20 seconds. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then let cool.
  2. In a small stainless steel bowl, combine the sugar syrup, Champagne and citrus juices. Set the bowl over a larger bowl of ice and keep cold. In another small bowl, combine the vinegar and shallot and season with pepper.
  3. Arrange the shucked oysters on a bed of crushed ice and coarse salt. Add the egg-white powder to the Champagne-citrus juice mixture and beat with a handheld mixer or immersion blender until thick and frothy.
  4. Spoon a little of the vinegar-shallot mixture over the oysters and a little of the Champagne froth on top. Garnish with the frozen Champagne grapes and serve right away.


Butternut Squash Rösti Cakes

Contributed by Grace Parisi



  • One 1-pound butternut squash neck, peeled and coarsely shredded in a processor
  • 1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and coarsely shredded in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Sour cream, salmon caviar and chives, for garnish
In a bowl, combine the shredded squash and potatoes with the cornstarch, eggs and onion and season with salt and cayenne. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/8 inch of oil until shimmering. Add 2-tablespoon-size mounds of the mixture to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and repeat, adding more oil to the skillet as needed and wiping out the pan occasionally. Top the rösti cakes with sour cream, caviar and chives and serve hot.
Make Ahead The fried cakes can be kept at room temperature for 4 hours. Recrisp in a warm oven.


Smoked Salmon Toasts with Mustard Butter

Contributed by David Tanis

David Tanis preparing salmon toast in kitchen. LeeHudson_Thanksgiving_FW_Nov2012


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon


Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6 inches from the heat. In a bowl, beat the butter with the Dijon and grainy mustards, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of the dill and season with salt and pepper.

Spread the baguette slices on a large rimmed baking sheet and broil until golden and crisp, 1 1/2 minutes per side. Let cool.
Spread the toasts with the mustard butter, top with the smoked salmon and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of dill and serve.
Make Ahead The mustard butter can be refrigerated overnight. Let soften before using.


Boiled Shrimp with Spicy Mayonnaise

Contributed by Eugenia Bone



  • 2 very fresh organic egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Coleman’s hot mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined


In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, mustard powder and lemon juice. Whisking constantly, slowly dribble in the canola oil. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Whisk in the 1 tablespoon of water to thin out the mayonnaise if necessary.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the shrimp and boil until pink, about 3 minutes. Drain and let cool. Serve the shrimp with the spicy mayonnaise.


WE SAID THIS: There is nothing better then a good appetizer!

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