A Stroll through Holiday Seafood Appetizer Paradise!
We’ve got so many great small plate and appetizer items available; I’m not even sure where to begin. Walking from one end of our display cases to the other, I get hungry just thinking of the possibilities.
Starting with the shellfish and smoked fish case, three sizes of wild gulf shrimp are sparkling on the ice and like Bubba from Forrest Gump I start rattling off ideas. There’s nothing better than our wild gulf shrimp, simply boiled and served with cocktail sauce and lemon. Monahan’s shrimp rémoulade, (available at the market) will spice up any party, or make some shrimp cakes with sweet chili sauce dip.
Next to the shrimp display we come upon the crabmeat. Fresh Atlantic Jonah crab and canned lump crabmeat are both great for crab cakes (make them small for appetizers), simple salads and hot dips, to name a few.
The center of this case is full of a great variety of smoked fish. What could be easier and more delicious than a mix of smoked mackerel, bluefish, trout, salmon, mussels and whitefish, served with capers and chopped red onion?
Going down the line we come to mollusk wonderland; clams, oysters and mussels piled high and looking good! Steamed mussels, littleneck, manila, steamer or razor clams in white wine and garlic are always a hit or try my stuffed clam recipe, made with a little smoky ham and a touch of Parmesan – fantastic! You can also stuff large mussels in the same style, or serve cold steamed mussels on the half shell with herb vinaigrette. Oysters are my all time celebration favorite. We always carry a nice selection, live in the shell from the east and west coasts, as well as fresh-shucked select oysters. Shucked on the half shell with our own cocktail sauce and lemon, or our peppery mignonette sauce; they are the briny, fresh flavor of the sea! Slurped off of they’re own beautiful mother of pearl shell, what could be better? We also have a great, crowd-pleasing Oysters Rockefeller recipe.
The top shelf of the shellfish case is home to the salted and pickled herrings. Schmaltz herring, wine herring, matjes herring and our own creamed herring are a must for your appetizer tray during the holidays. Just cut fillets into tidbits, maybe a little sour cream and onion, some crackers or cocktail rye bread and YUMMM.
Let’s move on to the fresh fish case, where you’ll find more than fresh fish; there are lots of appetizers here too. You’ll find squid and octopus for some killer salads (We make a nice squid vinaigrette and octopus salad with tomatoes or potatoes). Our freshly made Maine lobster salad lives in this case too. You also might see some sardine escabeche (spicy fried and pickled) or some high quality bacalao (salt cod) from Georges Bank. There are tons of great salt cod appetizer recipes from Spain, Italy, Portugal and the Caribbean. Dip your baguette into some garlicky Brandade, the fantastic creamy French salt cod dish, make salt cod fritters, a casserole, or just throw it in a pan with olive oil, roasted peppers, garlic and black olives. Try making your own gravlax or salmon carpaccio.
For the real ritzy parties and special occasions you’ll find a selection of caviar in this case too. From white sturgeon caviar to paddlefish, hackleback and whitefish roe there’s something for everything from an elegant garnish to stand-alone high-end caviar for toast points or blinis. There is also salmon roe (Ikura), the larger bright orange roe that is delicious on it’s own but really great over raw oysters with a speck of finely chopped purple onion.
Last but not least are the fantastic Ortiz brand anchovies. These lighter salt, buttery little fillets come from the Basque region of Spain and are the BEST I’ve ever tasted! Try Carson’s anchovy tapas: tomato sauce, Ortiz anchovy, Reggiano Parmesan toasted on a baguette slice- oh yeah! We also have Ortiz boquerones, hand filleted marinated white anchovies!
I hope you now have a few good ideas for appetizers! A lot of recipes are available on our website, or if you’d like, we prepare some mighty nice party platters!