Shrimp Appetizers for the Holidays

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Probably because holidays are such festive times–times of indulgences and celebrations, we throw caution to the wind and splurge for a month or two.

Parties, presents, shrimp.

Yep, it seems that shrimp and holidays are a perfect fit, and you don’t have to take my word for it. This time of the year, you’ll find shrimp well stocked in every grocery store and featured prominently on most menus.
From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, shrimp sells.

And for good reason, most everybody loves it, it’s enjoyed cold and hot, it’s relatively easy to prepare, and, well, it’s just darn good eatin’.

Probably the most popular recipe for shrimp (though it’s a stretch to even call it a recipe) is shrimp cocktail. This is kind of a shame because then it’s all about the cocktail sauce and pretty much NOTHING about the shrimp. In fact, if you buy or make a killer cocktail sauce, the shrimp is then about as important as a premium vodka in a spicy bloody mary.

Don’t get me wrong, I do grab a shrimp or two from a shrimp cocktail platter. But really, in my chef heart of hearts, I’m SO wishing shrimp would get a little more love.

So I have some ideas for you.

Before I pass them on, it might be worth your while to know a bit more about shrimp and how to cook them properly to maximize your enjoyment. I don’t have to tell you that shrimp aren’t cheap, so you’ll want to be sure to treat em’ right.

Click here to read more about shrimp. You learn how to know what you’re buying, buying the right shrimp for each dish and the best cooking techniques. I’ve even included a couple of my favorite recipes. My shrimp guide Who You Callin’ a Shrimp? is a great tutorial.

I enjoy shrimp prepared in so many ways that it’s hard to pick my favorite recipe, but one thing I try and remember is that it’s all about the shrimp.

Here are a few additional ideas you may wish to consider this holiday season:

Shrimp en Filo. Peel and devein jumbo shrimp, leaving the tail on. Marinate for 2 hours seasoned with a squeeze of fresh lemon, minced fresh garlic, salt and pepper. Lay out 2 sheets of filo on top of one another and brushed with melted butter in between. Then cut into strips about 3” wide and a foot long. Place the meat part of the shrimp at the bottom edge of each strip (leaving the tail exposed). Roll up into a stick-like package and then lightly butter each one again to coat. Bake in a 400 F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Enjoy with béarnaise sauce, marinara sauce or any sauce you enjoy with shrimp.

How do you make béarnaise sauce? Check out one of my recent blog posts.

When I prepare shrimp to be enjoyed cold, I sometimes season them with Nino’s Cajun seasoning or curry powder or lemon pepper or even our Moroccan seasoning. Then I either sear or grill them. From there, all you really have to do is chill them and enjoy them to the fullest in the juices that develop as they cool.

However you choose to prepare YOUR shrimp this holiday season, you can be sure that Nino’s has a plentiful supply of both cooked and raw shrimp in many sizes for you to enjoy.

They’re darn good eatin’!