Giada's Italian pigs in a blanket, crispy chicken tenders

Planning a holiday party? Serve up Giada de Laurentiis' holiday finger foods: Italian pigs in a blanket, crispy chicken tenders with piccata sauce and mini shrimp cakes with ginger butter.

Italian pigs in a blanket
Servings:

Yield: about 18 pigs in a blanket

Ingredients

    • 1 sheet puff pastry, from a 17.3 oz package
    • 1/2 pound mortadella, cut into 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch by 2 1/2-inch batons
    • 1 large egg, beaten
    • 1/2 cup (approximately 2 ounces) grated ementaler cheese
    • Dijon mustard to serve, if desired

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the sheet of puff pastry to an 11 inch square. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/2 inch strips. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap each baton of mortadella in one strip of puff pastry, overlapping the dough slightly with each wrap around and leaving the ends exposed.  Place the rolls on prepared baking sheet leaving an inch between each one. Brush each roll with the egg and top with a good pinch of grated cheese. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Serve warm, with mustard if desired.

Crispy chicken tenders with piccata sauce
Servings:

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • For chicken:
    • 1/2 packed cup fresh spinach leaves
    • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • Zest of 1 large lemon
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled
    • 1 pound chicken tenders, patted dry with paper towels and cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
    • For sauce:
    • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
    • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
    • 2 teaspoons agave
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

Baking Directions:

For the chicken: In a food processor, combine the spinach, breadcrumbs, cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Blend until the spinach is finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, toss together the beaten egg and chicken. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, allowing any extra egg to drip back into the bowl, to the bread crumb mixture. Toss until the chicken pieces are coated.In a 12-inch, high-sided skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat (the oil is hot enough when a pinch of breadcrumbs sizzles when added to the pan).  Add 1/3 of the chicken and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining chicken. For the sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the broth, lemon juice and flour. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until thick, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Stir in the parsley, capers, agave, and salt.Pour the sauce over the chicken or serve alongside as a dipping sauce.

Mini shrimp cakes with ginger butter
Servings:

Makes 15 servings

Ingredients

    • For shrimp cakes:
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 5 (4 ounces) large button mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
    • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
    • 2 large shallots, minced
    • 1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
    • 1 large egg
    • Zest of 1/2 large lemon
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • For butter:
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2-inch-long piece fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated to yield 4 teaspoons
    • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus extra as needed

Preparation

Baking Directions:

For the shrimp cakes: In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, carrot and shallots. Cook, stirring frequently until the carrot begins to soften, about 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the shrimp, breadcrumbs, egg, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined but still chunky. Using damp hands, form the mixture into 15 patties, each 2 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. Place on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.For the butter: In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, mix together the butter, ginger and soy sauce until combined. Place the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic wrap over and form the mixture into a log about 7 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until firm. When ready to serve, slice the butter into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side until golden. Add extra oil, if needed, and cook the remaining patties. Serve the shrimp cakes while still warm with a slice of ginger butter on top.Cook's note: Use any leftover ginger butter to top chicken or fish.

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