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Video: Perfect holiday appetizers

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    >>> for your holiday soiree. *

    >>> this morning in "today's holiday kitchen," easy gourmet appetizers. 'tis the season to entertain, so, how about impressing your friends and family with homemade hors d'oeuvres? they're the owners of ara's restaurant in el gone quinn, maine, one of my favorite restaurants. good to see you guys.

    >> happy holidays.

    >> nice to see you.

    >> so, you can make all these, but there's nothing wrong with pigs in a blanket ?

    >> no.

    >> just wanted to make sure. these are crab cakes .

    >> absolutely. two secrets with crab cakes . one is lemon juice with the crab before you do anything else.

    >> why?

    >> it coats the crab and brings out all the flavor. really nice. and then the second thing is, you know, a lot of people make these sort of crab lead balls.

    >> yes. crab lead balls!

    >> one of my favorites, lead balls of crab. so, instead, we want to use as much sour cream as we possibly --

    >> sour cream , that's interesting. now, are those breadcrumbs?

    >> breadcrumbs, onions, a little butter and just cooled down. then we mix this all together --

    >> and do you have to be careful about how you're mixing it?

    >> no, just like pigs in a blanket .

    >> i've heard some people say you don't want to break up the crab.

    >> well, you don't want to whip it into submission, but -- just little flour --

    >> just a little .

    >> and there.

    >> and put them together like this. just so you just get them together, just barely together, and then into the pan.

    >> and how long do you cook them on each side?

    >> until they're nice and brown.

    >> okay.

    >> how about that for a chef's answer?

    >> that looks good.

    >> there we go. and there we go.

    >> then you let those cook for a little while.

    >> beautiful. we'll move on to the next --

    >> we're moving on.

    >> oh, my god, we're doing some shrimp here.

    >> shrimp when wrapped --

    >> wrapping these guys up in basil leaves. then we have some beautiful parma ham and we wrap it in a little parma ham . and we're putting four of these on a skewer. you could put one, two, whatever you want .

    >> right.

    >> we're going to grill these -- or actually, the "today" show, they were grilled for us.

    >> ah, very nice!

    >> we'll wrap a couple more. then you could also deep-fry them or put them under a broiler, you know, whatever you have to cook with, really.

    >> right.

    >> and if you want them chilled, just precook the shrimp, then put all this together --

    >> that's good, too.

    >> and do it that way.

    >> a number of these things you can do, for example, the crab cakes -- how far in advance should you do those or should those be warm?

    >> obviously, you could mix them up a day ahead and you want to serve them warm, yeah.

    >> and what else do we have over here?

    >> some beautiful lamb with cilantro and pink peppercorn and then eggplant that was roasted.

    >> i hear it's a little spicy.

    >> they are a little spicy. i don't think they'll knock you off your feet, but they --

    >> mm-mmm, that's terrific.

    >> isn't that nice? that's something clark came up with.

    >> a tiny eggplant.

    >> the japanese eggplant .

    >> ah, okay. not going to get in trouble there.

    >> better be careful.

    >> clark frasier, martin gayer, thank you so much. the ladies are coming in. you've got

TODAY recipes
updated 12/15/2009 10:16:27 AM ET 2009-12-15T15:16:27

Recipe: Mini crab cakes with remoulade

Ingredients
  • For the crab cakes
  • 8 oz. picked Peekytoe crab meat
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 2 t. all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz. butter
  • 3 T. Spanish onion, minced
  • 1 c. bread crumbs
  • 3 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • For the remoulade
  • 2 c. mayo
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. whole-grain mustard
  • 3 T. gherkins, finely chopped
  • 1 T. sriracha sauce
  • 2 T. sherry vinegar
  • 1 t. Spanish paprika
  • 3 T. shallots, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation

For the crab cakes: Mix the crab meat, lemon juice, sour cream and flour. Saute onions in half of the butter until soft. Add bread crumbs, saute until just golden, then let cool. Mix the crab and the crumb mixture. Portion into small cakes, about 1/2-inch thick. Dredge in flour and fry in vegetable oil for two minutes each side, until very brown. Top with a dollop of remoulade.

For the remoulade: Whisk all ingredients together.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups, so cut in half or save for another use.

Recipe: Grilled basil and prosciutto-wrapped shrimp with aioli sauce

Ingredients
  • For the shrimp
  • 24 shrimp U15-20
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • 24 basil leaves, washed and dried
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 wooden or metal skewers
  • For the aioli with basil
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ice water
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 T chopped basil (blanch and dry basil before chopping)
  • 1 T chopped Italian parsley
Preparation

For the shrimp:

1. Clean and shell the shrimp if necessary.

2. Wrap a basil leaf around each shrimp.

3. Wrap 1/2 of a prosciutto slice around the shrimp.

4. Repeat until all shrimp are wrapped.

5. Place 4 of each shrimp onto a skewer.

6. Grill the skewers over a medium-hot fire for 2 minutes per side.

7. Serve at once with basil aioli and lemon wedges.

Alternative cooking methods: The shrimp skewers may be placed under a hot broiler for 2 minutes per side, or the shrimp skewers may be deep-fried for about 1 minute at 350 degrees F.

For the aioli with basil: Combine egg yolks, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process for 20 seconds. With the machine running, add both of the olive oils drop by drop, then slowly increase to a steady stream as the eggs and oil become emulsified. If the mixture gets too thick and starts to bind into a ball, thin it with a teaspoon or two of ice water. Add the basil and parsley and pulse. The final consistency should be a little thinner than a store-bought mayonnaise.

Season the aioli with salt and pepper. Store in a tightly sealed nonreactive container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

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