August 19, 2009

Late summer appetizers for wine lovers

by Nate Rafn

August and late evening soirees go hand in hand. So do soirees and fine local wine. And when wine is served, you've got to have good snacks.

The recipes listed here are seasonally inspired, and are meant to be served in small portions. Enjoy!

Tomato & Corn Relish on Crackers - serves 20

This appetizer can be prepared a day in advance. Just make sure you serve it as soon as the relish hits the cracker. Pair this dish with a light, dry red wine.

4 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup chopped cucumber pickles
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or canned
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 tbsp. fresh oregano or basil
20 crackers

Combine diced tomatoes, pickles, and corn in a mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper, oregano or basil, and toss together. Spread mayonnaise on crackers. Top each cracker with about 1 tablespoon of the relish. Serve immediately.

Plum & Fig Salad - serves 20

Figs, mint, and olive oil, give this fruit salad some surprisingly bold flavors. It pairs nicely with sweet, fruity white wine, rose', even port!

3 lbs. ripe Italian plums
1 lb. dried figs, quartered with stems removed
15 spearmint leaves, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. honey
juice of 1 large lemon
pinch of salt

Cut plums in half lengthwise, remove the pits, and cut into wedges. Combine plums, figs, and mint in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix olive oil, honey, lemon juice, and salt. Pour dressing over the fruit. Toss together gently. Divide the fruit salad into individual portions. Serve in small cups or bowls.

Red Snapper on Cucumber - serves 20

Enjoy this fish spread alongside a bone-dry white wine. If cucumbers aren't your thing, try adding it to crackers, small slices of bread, or other vegetables.

1.5 lb. Red Snapper fillet, bones and skin removed
0.25 cup olive oil; plus additional for brushing
1 tsp. salt
0.5 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried dill
0.25 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp. yogurt
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
2 large cucumbers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a sheet pan with olive oil, and arrange fish on the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and dill over the fish. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Spread oil and seasonings evenly across the fish with a spoon. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until firm, but flaky when touched. Let the fish cool to room temperature, then place into a mixing bowl in the fridge. Allow the fish to chill completely, about one hour.

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, and yogurt in a separate bowl. Add this mixture to the fish. Stir together with a fork, breaking up the fish as you blend. Add more salt if needed.

Cut the cucumbers into 0.25 inch slices. Spread 1 tbsp. of the Red Snapper on each slice. Serve immediately.

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