Posted Wednesday, Dec. 05, 2012
To start this year's festive feasts, pass on the cream cheese pinwheels and go for gourmet. These recipes for eight exquisite appetizers from area chefs and caterers are as stunning as they are scrumptious. Prepare them as impressive precursors to a multi-course meal or let them hold their own as elaborate cocktail party pairings. 'Tis the season to show off your culinary skills.
Pan-Fried Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Remoulade
Red Pepper Remoulade
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh Italian flat-leaf
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
1 tablespoon cornichons, or sour dill
1 1/2 teaspoons shallots, minced
Place the bell pepper, mayonnaise, parsley, tarragon, capers, cornichons and shallots in a mixing bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Transfer to an airtight container and keep chilled. The remoulade can be made a day or two in advance.
1 pound jumbo lump blue crab meat
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fine plain
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion (green and
2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tabasco sauce, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf
parsley sprigs, for garnish
1. Place the crab meat on a baking sheet and spread out evenly. Pick through to remove any shell or cartilage.
2. Return the meat to a mixing bowl and add egg, mayonnaise, mustard, breadcrumbs, scallion, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce. Mix gently. Mold the mixture into eight to 12 patties.
3. Heat about 1/4 inch of the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the crab cakes, in two batches if necessary, and pan-fry for about two minutes on each side or until well-browned and heated through. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
4. To serve, place two crab cakes on a warm serving plate and place a dollop of remoulade next to the cakes. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs.
-- The Zodiac, 2100 Green Oaks Road, 817-989-4650, www.neimanmarcus.com
Grilled Lamb Loin with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
2 Roma tomatoes,
About 1/4 cup extra-virgin
1 garlic clove, peeled and
4 fresh thyme sprigs,
4 ounces goat cheese
5 fresh rosemary sprigs,
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup aged balsamic
6 ounces lamb loin,
Salt and pepper
4 shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup baby arugula
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Use the convection setting if possible.
2. Place tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray. Mix 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the garlic and thyme, then brush mixture on tomatoes. Bake for three hours to slow roast.
3. Mix goat cheese with chopped rosemary leaves from one sprig. Divide cheese into four small balls.
4. In a small saucepan, combine honey and balsamic vinegar and cook over low heat until the mixture becomes a thick liquid.
5. Season lamb loin with salt and pepper and grill over high heat to medium rare, about one to two minutes per side. Let rest.
6. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and place shiitake mushrooms on top. Drizzle mushrooms with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
7. Top each mushroom with one goat cheese ball then one tomato half. Bake in a 375-degree oven for four minutes.
8. Assembly: Place arugula leaves on a platter and top with the baked mushrooms. Slice lamb loin and arrange on top of the mushrooms. Drizzle with balsamic glacé and garnish with remaining rosemary leaves.
-- Cacharel, 2221 E. Lamar Blvd., Arlington,817-640-9981, www.cacharel.net
Wood Fire Roasted Octopus
with Crispy Potatoes and Smoked Paprika Aioli
2 medium-size octopuses
1 head of garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt, for boiling water
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin
2 to 3 sprigs of rosemary, stems
discarded and leaves chopped
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon for garnish)
Zest of 3 lemons
1. In a large pot add the octopus, garlic, bay leaves and onion and fill with approximately 2 gallons of salted water.
2. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the octopus is tender. Strain and let octopus cool, then coat with olive oil, rosemary, parsley and lemon zest.
3. When ready to serve, grill the octopus until the legs become crispy.
Smoked Paprika Aioli
Makes 2 1/2 cups
2 garlic cloves
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1. In a blender add first four ingredients, and blend.
2. While the blender is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until mixture is thick and creamy. Season with salt to taste. You will have leftover aioli for another use.
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat approximately 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet.
2. Fry potatoes until crispy and season with salt and pepper.
1. Place potatoes on a plate and top with octopus.
2. Drizzle with aioli and garnish with chopped parsley.
-- Next Wood Fired Bistro, 5003 Colleyville Blvd., Colley-ville, 682-325-4046, www.nextwoodfiredbistro.com
Seared Diver Scallops with Winter Salad and Parsnip Puree
1 cup parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt, to taste
1. Add the parsnips and heavy whipping cream to a sauce pot. Cook over medium heat until parsnips are tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Strain heavy cream and reserve. Process parsnips in a blender, adding a bit of the reserved cream to emulsify into a smooth, thick puree. Season to taste with salt.
Winter Green Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
1/2 sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
lengthwise, using a mandoline
2 cups vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup frisee lettuce, cut into strands
1/4 cup radicchio or endive leaves
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup amaranth leaves
1/4 cup chervil leaves
About 2 tablespoons ricotta salata, crumbled
1. In a deep fryer or small, deep skillet, heat vegetable oil to 300 degrees and fry sweet potato slices until crispy. Drain on paper towels, season with salt and set aside.
2. Whisk lemon juice with olive oil until emulsified, adding salt to taste.
3. When ready to serve, toss all greens together with the lemon and olive oil vinaigrette and see assembly instructions.
1/2 cup Texas honey
2 tablespoons truffle oil
1 tablespoon truffle peelings, minced
Combine all ingredients and set aside.
4 diver scallops
1 ounce olive oil
1. Rinse the scallops and pat dry. Season with a pinch of salt.
2. In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil and sear scallops on both sides, until caramelized.
1. Smear the parsnip puree to the left side of a large round or oval plate using the back of the spoon.
2. Top the puree with the seared scallops, diagonally next to each other.
3. To the right of the scallops, layer a sweet potato chip with the greens, add another chip and top with more greens.
4. Garnish the salad with half the ricotta salata, drizzle with the truffle honey and serve.
-- Ashton Depot, 1501 Jones St., 817-810-9501, www.theashtondepot.com
Foie Gras-topped Scallops with Candied Duck Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Fricassee
8 slices duck bacon (found at Central Market)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon piment d'espellete (see note)
8 scallops, size U10 (found at Central Market)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
8 to 12 Brussels sprouts, julienned
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 shallots, sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup large capers, drained
4 slices foie gras (found at Central Market)
1. Rub bacon slices evenly with brown sugar, a dash of salt and pepper and the piment d'espellete. Lay flat on a baking sheet and place under broiler until sugar is melted and bacon is partially cooked.
2. Wrap bacon slices around each scallop and secure, using a toothpick. Season scallops with salt and pepper.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon each of the butter and olive oil in a large saute pan. Sear scallops on each side until caramelized. Set aside.
4. Saute Brussels sprouts, garlic and shallots in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add white wine and orange juice and cook until liquids have reduced.
5. Heat remaining 1/3 cup oil in a small pan and fry capers until crisp, about a minute.
6. Season foie gras slices with salt and pepper and sear in a dry skillet. Cut each slice in half.
Note: Piment d'espellete is found at Pendery's World of Chiles & Spices (www.penderys.com). May substitute hot paprika or cayenne.
1. When ready to serve, warm the scallops and foie gras in a 375-degree oven.
2. Reheat Brussels sprouts in a pan over low heat and toss with remaining butter.
3. To assemble, place Brussels sprouts on each plate and top with two scallops and add a half slice of foie gras on top of each scallop. Sprinkle each plate with capers and serve immediately.
-- Saint-Emilion, 3617 W. Seventh St., 817-737-2781, www.saint-emilionrestaurant.com
Parmesan Crisps topped with Garlicky Mushrooms and Chevre
Makes 16 crisps
16 white mushrooms, diced small
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
8 ounces chevre
1 handful arugula
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute mushrooms, garlic and shallot in the olive oil and butter until soft. Set aside and let cool.
2. Using a silicone baking mat, place half-tablespoon mounds of Parmigiano-Reggiano four inches from each other. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese has melted into a crisp wafer. Let cool.
3. Gently spread 1 1/2 teaspoons of chevre on each crisp. Then, spoon 2 to 3 teaspoons of mushroom mixture on top of chevre. Place a single arugula leaf on top of mushroom mix and top with four to five pieces of roasted red pepper.
-- Fort Worth Catering , 5817 Camp Bowie Blvd., 817-810-0888, www.ftworthcatering.com
Makes about 16 pieces
1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bulb garlic, minced
Small bunch parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 ounces kalamata olives, pitted
About 1/3 cup ricotta salata, crumbled,
1. Toss eggplant with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic, chopped parsley (reserving some for garnish) and salt and pepper, to taste. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees until eggplant is cooked through.
2. Drizzle baguette slices with remaining olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill until warm.
3. Combine chopped olives with cooked eggplant and spoon onto baguette slices. Garnish with parsley and approximately 1 teaspoon crumbled ricotta salata per slice.
-- Piola, 3700 Mattison Ave., 817-989-0007, www.fwpiola.com
Goat Cheese Empanadas
Makes 10-15 pastries
5 ounces honey goat cheese, softened
(available at most specialty stores)
1 ounce fresh or frozen cranberries
1 teaspoon orange zest, poached in water
to remove the bitterness from orange
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 premade piecrust
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Simple syrup (Bring 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup
water to a boil. Set aside to cool.)
1/4 cup toasted almonds (or your favorite nut)
Turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top
1. Combine goat cheese, cranberries, orange zest, vanilla bean paste and black pepper in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the flavor if necessary.
2. Roll out piecrust dough and cut out 3-inch round circles. Whisk egg yolk with water and brush dough with half of the egg wash mixture. Reserve remaining egg wash.
3. Place a teaspoon of the cranberry mixture in the center of the dough circles. Fold in half to seal and use a fork to crimp the edges.
4. Place the empanadas on a parchment-lined sheet pan sprayed with nonstick spray and put in the freezer to chill for about one hour.
5. Remove and brush with remaining egg wash and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Lightly brush with simple syrup and sprinkle the toasted almonds and turbinado sugar on top. Serve warm.
-- Tastefully Yours, 1959 W. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-749-0896, www.tastefullyyours.com
Combine the sweetness of caramelized diver scallops, named for the deep-sea divers who selectively handpick them, with colors and flavors of winter's seasonal root vegetables to create this visual stunner from Ashton Depot. Finished with a truffle-honey drizzle, it's an elevated starter dish well-suited for a small dinner party of close (and lucky) friends. Follow Ashton Depot executive chef Cesar Gallegos' assembly instructions for a striking presentation that will keep guests talking.
When B.K. McCollum decided to retire last year and sell her longtime food-service business, BK's Creative Catering, Joey Diomede was ready to take the reins. He renamed the business Fort Worth Catering and stays busy with events while maintaining his previous gig as the owner and operator of Galligaskin's Submarines. Here, he provides an easy recipe for toasty Parmesan crisps topped with a savory garlic-mushroom saute.
There are lots of moving parts, and pans, involved in creating this beautifully sophisticated yet complex dish from Saint-Emilion, Fort Worth's haven for classic French cuisine. Owner Bernard Tronche manages to make foie gras pretty (often a tough task for the fatty liver) and amps seared scallops by wrapping them in candied duck bacon. The extravagant hors d'oeuvre is an indulgence that will impress dinner guests and delightfully challenge the experienced at-home cook.
Revered restaurateur Bobby Albanese, whose Italian bungalow Piola marked its fifth anniversary this year, branches out on bruschetta with this easy and appetizing eggplant version. A tangy kalamata olive tapenade tops grilled baguette slices, while touches of creamy ricotta add mouthfeel. It's the perfect precursor to a hearty home-cooked dinner or for pairing with wine and conversation.
The daring diner will appreciate Next Wood Fired Bistro chef and owner Ying Aikens' recipe for roasted octopus, which is first boiled to tenderize, then grilled or fired in a wood-burning oven until crispy. Octopus is highly flavorful and popular in Japan and Mediterranean countries, so it's no surprise Aikens, who regularly fuses Asian and Medi flavors on her ever-evolving menu, chose the sea creature as the star of this standout starter.
Whether you're pouring champagne upon arrival or later for a yuletide toast, these sweet and savory empanadas from Tastefully Yours catering in Southlake make an easy-to-prepare holiday pairing. Honeyed goat cheese mellows the tart cranberry filling while cracked black pepper adds punch. And while we admire those who can whip up a scratch-made piecrust on a whim, we're thankful Tastefully Yours allows us to pre-purchase ours for the recipe shown here.
When a recipe calls for roasting our own tomatoes at a low and deliciously slow pace, we know to plan for a leisurely, wine-filled day in the kitchen. Chef Hans Bergman, who's co-owned Cacharel for 26 years, allows us to create a knockout nibbler with his rich lamb loin and roasted Roma tomato-topped stuffed mushrooms. The Romas bake for three hours, giving us plenty of time to not only prep the remaining dish components, but maybe even crank out a holiday pie or finish addressing Christmas cards.
Some restaurants, and their dishes, have long exuded elegance, as has The Zodiac at Neiman Marcus with its subdued air of sophistication. (It's a retreat that has often brought moments of peace, even if brief, to our frenzied holiday shopping.) And for The Zodiac, only fresh lump blue crab meat cakes will do -- those with minimal filler and a toothsome consistency that's never dry or overworked. Achieve such for your own elegant gatherings with this recipe provided by the restaurant. A crimson red pepper remoulade, which can be made a day or two in advance for optimum flavor, is offered as a tangy dipper.
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