3 Impressive cocktail-glass party appetizers to wow your guests

Nov 19, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. ET

Holiday party season is creeping up fast, and everyone has the same problem. What easy recipes can we serve to please a crowd?

Cocktail parties are fun when there is an array of little appetizers to choose from to go with the drinks. But it's not fun when you have to be the one to create that array of mini foods. Don't worry, I have three recipe ideas for you to try out. They are not hard at all to make, and with one batch, you can make many portions for your guests.

You will need an immersion or stick blender to make the creams, but the cooking doesn't require much effort, so if you don't think you have chef skills, don't worry. You will still impress a crowd with these fabulous cocktail-glass recipes. If you are making a lot and don't want to wash the glasses, then buy disposable cocktail glasses. Let the party begin!

Grilled shrimp on papaya with curry

Grilled shrimp on papaya with curry recipe

Papaya, lime, curry, sesame seeds — yes, the whole appetizer shouts exotic. The blend of flavors creates a wonderful base for the grilled shrimp. It's definitely an interesting combination of flavors to try.

Yields 4

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups papaya, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 big or 8 medium shrimp, deveined and shelled
  • Almond oil (or any other oil)
  • Sesame seeds, toasted
  • Fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Using an immersion or stick blender, blend together the papaya, curry powder, lime juice, salt and pepper. Adjust the taste, if you desire, and then set aside.
  2. On a griddle over medium heat, grill the shrimp until cooked through.
  3. To serve, put some papaya cream into a cocktail glass.
  4. Top with a shrimp, drizzle with the almond oil, and then sprinkle on the sesame seeds and parsley.

Smoked salmon on piquant guacamole

Smoked salmon on piquant guacamole recipe

Of the three appetizers, this one is the tastiest. When I take a spoonful, my mouth explodes from the delicious combination of smoked salmon and lightly spicy guacamole. In this appetizer, they make a perfect match.

Yields 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large avocado, peeled
  • 1/2 lime, zest and juice
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1/2-1 chili, seeded and minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices smoked salmon
  • Chives, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together the avocado, lime zest, juice, onion (set aside some for garnish), salt, pepper and chili. Mash the avocado while mixing.
  2. In a glass, put the guacamole, and then top with the salmon.
  3. Sprinkle with the remaining onion and chives.

Grilled shrimp & toasted bacon on lentil cream

Grilled shrimp and bacon on lentil cream recipe

When I was growing up, I loved lentils cooked with little shrimp. Then I made my own lentil dish with bits of bacon, and I loved that too. In this appetizer, I decided to put both ingredients into one dish (or glass), and sure enough, the newly combined flavors worked well together.

Yields 4

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 fresh bay leaf, torn (optional)
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 big or 8 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 ounces bacon, diced
  • Fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. To a small saucepan over medium heat, add the lentils, garlic, onions, bay leaf, water, salt and pepper. Let the mixture boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. When the lentils are cooked, separate the liquid, and set it aside in another bowl.
  3. Using an immersion or stick blender, blend the lentils with about 1/4 cup of the liquid, and then mix well. You can add more liquid if the cream is too thick. Adjust the salt if needed.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, mix, and then set aside.
  5. On a griddle over medium heat, grill the shrimp until cooked through. Set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, in a dry, small saucepan over medium heat, fry the bacon.
  7. In a glass, put the lentil cream. Top with a shrimp, some bacon and parsley.
  8. Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top.

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