An appetizer is a small dish of food meant to be eaten before a meal to stimulate your guests’ taste buds; It may be served hot or cold with a variety of colors and textures; it is often shared by several people. It has been served at dinner parties and gatherings for many years.
Even though an appetizer is not meant to over-shadow a meal, it is fun to elevate it to a new level with the use of modernist techniques. What a great way to help get the conversation rolling for the evening!
Turn basic deviled eggs into chipotle caviar with pulled pork bites, pickled beets and goat cheese or candied bacon and chive air combinations. There are many variations of a Crostini which will start the party off right. Change the texture or thickness of a veggie dip for a fun new twist. Or, you can't go wrong with sous viding a batch of chicken wings. You're only limited by your imagination!
In this recipe the pressure cooking of the plantains caramelizes them, ratcheting up the sweetness and adding more depth of flavor. Then simply puree them with dark rum and place them on crostini for a great snack!
Aioli is simply a mayonnaise made with garlic and olive oil. This recipe uses an immersion blender to make the process super-easy and results in a light dip for vegetables or a spread on breads and toast. It's a popular addition to any party fare!
Cranberries are a great treat any time of the year. This recipe combines the tang from the cranberries with the smokiness from the ancho pepper. For a burst of flavor place on a crispy crostini and topped with with spices and mint. A great party treat!
For a modern twist on this clam chowder with smoked clams recipe I gel the chowder, cube it, and serve it on a crunchy sourdough crouton with a smoked clam on top. A tasty and talked about party treat!
Roasting parsnips gives it an almost nutty taste, which holds up well to a topping of chipotle-carrot froth. The modernist ingredient of xanthan gum is used in the froth to help it retain the bubbles generated in the whipping siphon. This is a fun dish to serve as an appetizer or starter plate.
This recipe combines crispy pulled pork and savory deviled egg with a burst of spicy chipotle flavor into one of the more unique combinations. The crispy pulled pork can be used as a garnish for many dishes, and a topper for fish or salads.
This crostini recipe moves the traditional deli food of lox and cream cheese on a bagel into fancy modernist bites. The cream cheese is turned into gelled noodles that are served on toasted bagel rounds with pickled red onion. An easy to pick up and deliciously flavorful party food!
For a PB and J dessert worthy of a party, I make a home-made cashew butter to replace the peanut butter and then turn some fresh raspberries into a flavorful fluid gel for the jelly. I serve it with a sliver of dark chocolate for richness and a lemon twist to add brightness. When served open face it better highlights the flavors.
I really like how the halibut goes with the sweet and tart citrus pudding. This is a simple dish but one that is full of subtle flavors. The orange and lemon help complement the halibut and the basil adds just a hint of spice to it.
Tender crispy chicken wings are always a big hit at any party! Using sous vide to prepare them helps eliminate most of the guess work which always results in crowd pleasing chicken. Since the frying process is now just used to crisp the skin, it can be done at a hotter temperature, resulting in an even crispier yet tender wing.
This recipe makes a clean and fresh tasting pea pesto dip that works great with just about everything, especially grilled sourdough bread, carrot and celery sticks, as well as roasted vegetable chips. This party favorite is quick and easy to put together and can be made with defrosted frozen peas - however, if you have access to fresh spring peas it'll be even better!
Chicken piccata is a light Italian dish that uses salty capers and acidic lemon to complement breaded and fried chicken. In this recipe I use sous vide to ensure the chicken is super moist and fully cooked. For a fun modernist take, I turn the lemon caper juice into a delicate air with an immersion blender.
The combination of apples and pork are a classic pairing in Irish cooking. For this recipe, I roast apples and use the modernist ingredient of agar to turn them into a fun pudding topper for pork. By sous vide cooking the pork, you can consistently serve an extra moist and tender meat entree.
For this recipe I make a foam instead of using the normally thin liquid associated with a dish of mussels. After removing the mussels from their shells, I serve them individually with the curry foam on top. This exceptional mussel bite turns a messy meal into an elegant and easy to eat party food.
The star of most of my parties is meat and this blackberry-peach wrapped sous vided pork offering is no exception! It makes a fun presentation besides the additional sweetness and flavor from roasting the fruit complements the pork perfectly.
This crostini recipe infuses the heat, smokiness and flavor of dried chiles into canola oil, which is then thickened into a foam. It is also a good topping for grilled meats or as a spicy spread for fresh bread. The process of infusing oil with flavors before thickening it leads to countless variations you can adapt to any dish.
This recipe is a great crostini topping for any party, especially if some attendees might be less adventurous eaters! It resembles a more traditional dish but it have a subtle modernist touch. Garnishing the white bean puree with lemon zest pulls in even more highlights to the food.
This recipe uses the extra flavor of garlic to turn a simple crostini base into a tasty explosion by itself.
It's a great way to add depth of flavor to dishes without having to add the garlic to the topping. Even though a baguette or ciabatta is the traditional bread used, let your imagine run wild to create a variety of Italian party favorite appetizers!
Crostini are one of my most popular finger food Italian appetizers for parties. Basically they consist of small toasted bread slices with toppings on them. Even though a baguette or ciabatta is the traditional bread used, let your imagine run wild to create new and interesting tastes.
These tangy reddish-purple deviled eggs are made with pickled beet brine. This recipe aims for some color without an overpowering flavor so the eggs are only soaked for 12 to 18 hours. Topped with a dab of goat cheese, a pecan and a slice of pickled beet - they are always a crowd pleaser!
This recipe makes fresh cantaloupe and honeydew melons into a simple flavorful soup, then turns it into little spheres that my guests can pop into their mouths. By using a modernist spherification technique and the modernist ingredients of calcium lactate and sodium alginate, you too can make a fun take on this favorite summer food!
Honey goat cheese is already light and airy but in this recipe it gets a modernist cooking twist by using a whipping siphon to turn it into creamy clouds. I serve it on small flatbreads with port-infused figs for a fun texture and taste combination!
This basic flatbread recipe is easy to make and has great flavor. Be adventuresome when adding garnishes to the dough, or as toppings either before or after cooking! Flatbreads are always party favorites!
By using the basic modernist ingredient of xanthan gum this recipe turns tuna into an upscale party favorite for any gathering. I serve the tuna squares with a pickled pear relish and an Asian accent sauce for a pop of flavor.
Deviled eggs with bacon and chives are a common party food but this recipe takes it up a notch by using modernist cooking techniques to make it candied bacon and chive air! Your party guests will enjoy the crispy, sweet, spicy and smoky flavors of the candied bacon while the chive air adds a fresh onion flavor with a hint of sweetness. A fun treat for your family and friends.
This modernist dessert is a take off of an old fashioned sweet potato, brown sugar and marshmallow casserole. Here I take crispy sweet potato chips, top them with a fresh orange and brown sugar marshmallow and finish it with a drizzle of molasses for extra flavor. This treat is a hit at every party!
This dip recipe combines the spicy heat of habanero peppers with the sweet taste of fresh ripe peaches. The resulting tangy dip is great on vegetables or even meat. By altering the amount of peppers used, you can raise or lower the heat to suit your guests.
These Mexican inspired salmon bites pack a lot of flavor in a little package. The acidity from the tomatillos compliments the salmon perfectly and the crunch from the fried tortillas adds great texture.
Not all dishes that use modernist ingredients have to be super fancy in-your-face dishes that look like they came from Alinea. This red pepper pesto crustini is a great example. It is a simple, hearty snack that is great when served as an appetizer or set out as hors d'oeuvres.
I love a good shrimp cocktail and adapting it to be a sous vide recipe makes the whole process so easy. It only takes a few minutes to put together but it results in a fantastic appetizer that you and your guests will love.
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