Appetizers are purely for fun. Hors d'oeuvres the French call them: "outside of the works." They are likely to have a wicked lot of calories but most people have come to expect them with cocktails. The French picked up the habit of pre-dinner snacking from the Russians, who call such tidbits zakuskis. Italians have their little plates of antipasto, while Scandinavians serve all manner of spicy, pickly things at a smorgasbord and make a complete meal of them.
Hot hors d'oeuvres are always a treat. You may have to spend a few last minutes with them, but they are worth whatever confusion they create. Some, such as tiny cream puffs, turnovers, and meat balls can be completely cooked well in advance, then popped into the oven just before the first guests arrive. Do keep appetizers bite-size. Their function is to titillate the appetite, not satisfy it.
This recipe of Shrimp with Garlic and Parsley is amazing. I love spicy, so for me this is so good and it takes only 10 min to prepare.
- 4 to 5 Tbs. olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 to 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 to 2 Tbs. dry white wine
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
- lemon pepper pasta for serving, optional (I got the pasta from Trader Joe's)
In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and paprika and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Increase the heat to high, add the shrimp, lemon juice and dry white wine, stir well, and sauté until the shrimp turn pink and are opaque throughout, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.