I love this mid-century serving dish that belonged to my late grandmother. I wish I could say that I recall her using it as a serving plate for appetizers at dazzling cocktail parties, where her sharp-dressed friends drank Sidecars and listened to jazzy music coming from huge loud-speakers. But I can’t. Although my grandmother was a reasonable cook and a good entertainer, as far as I know, this serving dish never made it to the table. Until now.
On my board you won’t find appetizers that were popular in the fifties and sixties, though. I needed to give them an update. No stuffed shrimp tomatoes and crudité with dips, but instead, cherry tomatoes with mashed avocado and herbs, roasted carrots with cumin-lime crema, and crostini with romesco sauce and roasted scallions. Only the deviled eggs have been immune to the ravages of time. I think my grandmother would have loved my modern take on her appetizer platter and I wish she was here to celebrate New Year’s Eve with me. We would have shaken some cocktails (when I start mixing drinks I rely on the easy to use and entertaining little red book Drinkology by James Waller ), have eaten together, and done some happy talking for sure.
This appetizer board contains four easy recipes individually shown below. Do check out my short stop motion movie included in the first recipe of the deviled eggs!
Deviled Eggs with Smoked Chili Flakes
- 10 medium eggs
- 3 tbsp garlic mayonnaise preferably homemade
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- about 2 tbsp sour cream
- smoked chili flakes (pimentón de la vera) for sprinkling
- Fill a medium-size pan with water and bring to a boil. Carefully place the eggs in the water and let simmer for 8-9 minutes. Drain the eggs, rinse them under cold running water. With a wooden spoon, move the eggs around and let them bounce gently to the sides of the pan. This way they will be easier to peel. Let the eggs cool in the cold water.
- Peel the eggs and cut them in half lenghtwise. Scoop the yolks into a medium bowl, being careful to keep the whites intact. Set the whites on a platter.
- With a fork, mash the yolks with the mayonnaise, mustard, and sour cream. Add some more sour cream if you think the mixture looks a bit too thick. Mix until you have a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill the whites with the yolk mixture. Top the eggs with a sprinkling of smoked chili flakes just before serving.
Crostini with Romesco Sauce and Roasted Scallions
- small roasting tin, food processor, brush
- 1 large (or 2 small) red bell pepper(s) or use bell peppers from a jar (see note)
- 2 large garlic cloves unpeeled
- 50 g / 1.75 oz blanched almonds
- 30 g / 1 oz baguette
- 5-6 sundried tomatoes in oil drained
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp hot (smoked) paprika powder
Crostini & Roasted Scallions
- 6-8 scallions
- ½-1 baguette sliced
- olive oil for drizzling
- Preheat the oven broiler. Put the bell pepper and unpeeled garlic cloves in a small roasting tin. Broil the pepper until it is charred and soft, turn it every now and then with tongs. Make sure the garlic cloves don't burn! Take them out of the oven as soon as they are brown and feel soft on the inside. Take the bell pepper out of the oven and let it cool in a pan with a lid (this process will help you peel the bell pepper more easily).
- In a small skillet, toast the almonds until slightly golden brown. Remove from the heat. Soak the bread in a bowl with some cold water until soft. Peel the bell pepper and remove the stem and seeds.
- Put the bell pepper in a food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and add to the bell pepper. Squeeze the bread lightly and add it to the bell pepper as well. Add the almonds, tomatoes, vinegar, and olive oil and process until smooth. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if you like a thinner and more creamy sauce, add a small pice of soaked bread if you like a thicker sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a jar in the refrigerator.
- Right before serving, preheat the oven broiler again. Rinse the scallions, remove the roots and ends of the leaves, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook on all sides under the broiler for several minutes until soft and slightly charred. Remove from the oven. Let cool a little and cut them into pieces.
- Arrange the slices of bread on a baking sheet and brush with some olive oil. Place under the broiler and watch closely. Turn the slices over as soon as they turn golden brown (1-3 minutes, depending on the distance from the broiler). Broil again until golden. Remove from the oven.
- Top the crostini with the Romesco Sauce and roasted scallions. Grind over some fresh black pepper and serve.
Avocado Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
- 16 large cherry tomatoes about the size of a large walnut
- 2 large and ripe avocados skin and pit removed
- a small handfull of basil finely chopped
- a small handfull of cilantro finely chopped, plus extra
- lime juice according to taste
- sour cream
- Cut thin slices from the tops of the cherry tomatoes. If neccesary, cut a small slice from the bottoms as well, so the tomatoes stand upright. With a teaspoon, scoop out the tomatoes and discard the seeds and pulp. Lightly sprinkle the insides with salt.
- In a bowl, mash the avocados with a fork. Add the herbs and season with lime juice, salt, and pepper.
- Spoon the avocado mixture into the tomatoes. Garnish with a small dollop of sour cream and some cilantro. Grind over some fresh black pepper.
Roasted Carrots with Cumin-Lime Crema
- pestle and mortar (or a spice grinder)
- about 800 g / 1.7 lb carrots scrubbed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- a small handful of cilantro
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 125 g / ½ cup sour cream
- zest of 1 lime
- juice of ½ lime
- optional 1-2 tbsp yoghurt
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Halve the carrots lengthwise into long strips (quarter the thicker ones and leave smaller ones whole). Put them on a large baking sheet.
- Toss the carrots with the olive oil and some salt. Roast the carrots in the oven for 25-30 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender and caramelized at the ends.
- Meanwhile make the crema. Toast the cumin seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Use the pestle and mortar (or a spice grinder) to finely grind 1 teaspoon of the seeds. In a bowl, whisk the sour cream with the ground cumin, the lime zest and lime juice. If the crema is too thick you can add 1-2 tbsp yoghurt or a little water. Season with salt.
- Remove the carrots from the oven and arrange them on a platter. Drizzle over the cumin-lime crema. Garnish with the rest of the toasted cumin seeds and some cilantro.
Hungry for more?
Check out my other scrumptious appetizers like Gorgeous Gougères and Vegetarian Appetizers to Celebrate the New Year.