If the challenge this holiday season is to leave behind the classic canapé of cream cheese and smoked salmon, the legendary bacon dates, the stuffed egg and other immortal appetizers that have starred on the Christmas tables of millions of homes for decades, these simple and successful appetizers It’s a great way to innovate.
Ode to the artichoke
Chef Susana Aragón, owner of the Cèntric Gastro restaurant in El Prat de Llobregat (Barcelona) suggests the use of the artichoke, which is now in season, as the protagonist of a very easy Christmas appetizer, a delight for lovers of this vegetable. . “We prepare it baked and finish the sealing to make the leaves crispy,” explains the chef. The dish can be supplemented with any spice to taste, or even with a coating of dried fruits.
Muhammarra with walnuts and basil
Chef Ysrael Omaña, one of the chefs of the Los Patios restaurant in Gijon, suggests a very attractive and easy to cook recipe of Syrian origin. “It is made with few and very affordable ingredients, in addition to requiring little time,” explains the chef. To prepare this appetizer you need three red peppers, 20 g of walnuts, 60 ml of extra olive oil and 1 g of salt. You just need to cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds and stem and bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. Then we go through the blender with the rest of the ingredients and mix until there are no lumps.
For serving, it is ideal to place the mixture in a pastry bag and serve in a shot glass, garnished with a basil leaf and a piece of toast. “If we like black olives, we can add a few, and if we want to create a light dish, the ideal is to serve it with vegetable croutons,” explains Omaña.
oysters in tempura
This recipe by Bruno Lombán, chef at the Quince Nudos restaurant in Ribadesella (Asturias), is an appetizer that is as sophisticated as it gets and is very easy to prepare. First, the oysters must be opened and drained well, then floured and tempura-dried. “It’s important to follow the tempura instructions to the letter and cover the oyster well and then fry it in hot oil, always making sure it doesn’t stick to the base,” explains the cook, who recommends using tongs to keep while frying.
Once the oyster is conveniently battered into a tempura, we place it in one of the empty shells, very carefully, and finish with a little roe of trout, salmon or even caviar, as well as a few drops or grated lime or lemon, which will add freshness to the dish. “If we also place them on a small tray of stones, with the typical river boulders, and finish, if we have, with a dip of fermented soybeans, we will already have the complete dish,” explains Lombán.
the perfect egg
Nothing is easier to prepare than a poached egg, which can be accompanied by the most different dressings. At Cèntric Gastro, Aragón cooks it at 64 degrees for about 30 minutes, but assures that “if you don’t have the infrastructure, you can always steam it at home and it’s perfect.” From here, imagination to power. The chef recommends accompanying it, for example, with a soft cauliflower cream and a sobrassada quenelle.
“A very successful and very easy recipe is the strudel, which can be filled with almost anything. It’s made with filo dough, you can give it the size you want and fill it with whatever you want: you can use all the vegetables in the world,” explains Aragón. The chef likes sausage and calçots with romesco sauce. “We can make a maxi cannelloni to share, or several individual small ones. The phyllo is crispy and it’s a very tasty appetizer,” he explains.
Nothing is easier and more successful than preparing some parmesan lollipops, perfect to accompany the welcome cocktail, if there is one, just before you sit down at the table. We only need a round cookie tin and a lollipop stick: place the grated parmesan in the tin, with the stick as a lollipop, and heat in the oven until the parmesan hardens. If you like, you can add ground oregano or basil, as well as tomato powder. Let it cool and we will have some parmesan lollipops.
To give the classic chickpea hummus a try, the chef at the Semproniana restaurant in Barcelona, Ada Parellada, recommends making a beetroot hummus. “If that doesn’t happen, we can always cook the beets and prepare some toast as an appetizer, in addition to using the cooking water, which is pink, for many recipes,” says the chef. You can make a vinaigrette or add a few drops to mayonnaise to make it pink and garnish dishes like poached eggs, among other uses.
The main problem with Christmas meals is that they overuse meat, fish and sweets and leave little room for vegetables, which ends up causing many people to put on weight after the holidays despite feeling like they have controlled amounts. Nutritionist Pilar Esquer, a teacher at the Gasma school in Castellón, always invites us to include vegetables and salads in the Christmas meals, since “by serving greens on the plate, we will eat less other more caloric foods without even noticing. Always having a salad in the center of the table is a good idea at Christmas meals.’ To start with appetizers, a good idea is to assemble skewers of grilled seasonal vegetables, with a simple dressing of olive oil and salt, which can include cubes of tofu, for example, to give them an original touch.
Saam octopus with breadcrumbs and kimchi mayonnaise
This recipe from Tomàs Mateu, executive chef and owner of the Santa Fe restaurant in Barcelona, is typical of Korean cuisine: saam. It is a roll, the particularity of which, in this case, is that it arrives at the table wrapped in a lettuce leaf. “Our suggestion is to make it with grilled octopus, previously cooked and accompanied by kimchi mayonnaise. To make it, we just have to mix a regular mayonnaise with a kimchi sauce that we can buy anywhere and some breadcrumbs, which are baked with panko, a very soft Japanese breadcrumb,” explains Mateu.
The saam is placed on the lettuce leaf as if it were a taco: it starts with the mayonnaise, followed by the migas and the octopus, and ends with a pickled onion or cucumber and some cilantro leaves. “It’s a very easy hot-cold appetizer, to which we also add bacon at a low temperature for 10 hours, but you can do without it if you don’t have the necessary infrastructure at home,” explains Mateu.
Cheese croissant with fine herbs
This recipe suggested by Karlos Arguiñano in his new book the kitchen of your life (Planeta, 2021), is a winning horse, and if we succeed we can make homemade croissants of various flavors in no time. It’s very easy: all you have to do is take a rectangular sheet of puff pastry, cut it in half and create 9 triangles, fill them with cream cheese with fine herbs and roll them into a croissant shape. To finish, they are painted with egg and baked at 200ºC for about 10-15 minutes. The chef recalls that “croissants accept any type of filling. To give you an idea: try with cocoa and hazelnut cream or with history”, he recommends.
Loading next content…