Tag Archives: appetizer

Gambas al Ajillo

Gambas al Ajillo (garlic shrimp) is a famous Spanish tapas recipe that is mesmerizingly delicious. These are the ingredients:

  • About a pound of frozen shrimp (roughly 25), heads and tails off, medium or large
  • 10 large cloves of garlic
  • Half a cup of olive oil
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Dry sherry, either a quarter cup or a third of a cup
  • Lemon juice
  • Black pepper
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

The ingredients

The first step is to finely chop the garlic, and add it to the olive oil.


Add that garlic!

Then let the shrimp marinate for a while. The longer they marinate, the more garlicky they’ll be, but 30 minutes is fine. This is also when you add the salt and the baking soda. The baking soda helps keep the shrimp crunchy, and together, the salt and baking soda help the shrimp retain their juiciness.


Marinate the shrimp.

Next, remove the shrimp and dump everything else in the pan. Cook the garlic for about five minutes on medium-high heat to bring out more of the flavor.


Cook the mixture (minus the shrimp).

Next, add the red pepper flakes, and cook for another minute or so.


Add the red pepper.

Add in almost everything else – the shrimp; the sherry; the pepper (to taste); the lemon juice (again, to taste). Don’t overcook the shrimp! About 4 minutes on the medium-high heat should be good enough.


Add everything else, except the parsley.

That’s plenty of time to chop the parsley for the garnish.


Chopped parsley!

Then add the parsley and you’re done. The shrimp are delicious, but the oil is too – it’s incredibly flavorful, and perfect for mopping up with a baguette.



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Turkey & Arugula Appetizer

This is another easy but tasty appetizer. The ingredients are:

  • Sliced turkey – preferably sliced thick
  • Arugula
  • Pesto
  • Mayonnaise

The ingredients

The first step is mixing the spread – half a cup of mayonnaise mixed with a tablespoon of pesto.


Mixing the spread.

Spread this mixture over the sliced turkey. These were thinly sliced, so I doubled up on the slices.


Spreading the spread.

Cut the slices into quadrants…


Cutting the quadrants.

…Then add the arugula and roll. I found it was easier to roll lengthwise, and that I preferred three or four pieces of arugula. But you do you.


Adding the arugula.

Spear it all together with a toothpick, and you’ll be surprised how something so simple could be so tasty.



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Bacon-Wrapped Dates

This appetizer is delicious, decadent, and easy to make. These are the ingredients:

  • Medium or thick-cut bacon
  • Pitted Dates
  • Blue cheese (or gorgonzola)

The ingredients

Pitted dates have had the pits removed; you can usually find bags of 25 or so at your local grocery. Simply look for the seam and open them up. While you’re at it, you should pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.


Split the dates.

Then cram the inside – where that pit used to be – with blue cheese, and close them up again.


Fill them with cheese.

Then wrap with bacon. A single slice should be cut in half, because half a strip is enough for wrapping a single date. Secure in place with a toothpick if you have them; you can make do without if not.


Wrap them in bacon.

The convenient way to cook them if to line a baking sheet with parchment paper, because the grease will pool on the paper and be easy to dispose of. But again, you can make do without if need be.


Lay them out and put them in the oven!

Cook them in the oven for roughly 30 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Then pull them out and enjoy!



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Portobello Appetizer

This recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to make. This is the (very short) list of ingredients:

  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Pepper flakes
  • Gorgonzola cheese, preferably crumbly (but blue cheese works too)

The ingredients.

First, clean the portobello caps, and cut down any stem that might make them difficult to fry on both sides. Then make sure they’re dry.

Next, coat the bottom of your pan (preferably cast iron) with olive oil.

Fry the caps – gill sides down – on low heat for a while. You want to cook them thoroughly, but without burning or searing them.


Gill sides down.

When you’re ready, flip the caps. Now they can cook gill side up for a while. And the gill side is now hot enough to help melt the cheese you’re going to crumble over them. Add as much cheese as you care to. Then add some red pepper flakes too – again, to taste.


Crumble the cheese

Cook for a while, until you think they’re ready, or the cheese is melted. Cut into quadrants and enjoy!



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