I served these spicy baked shrimp balls at a recent dinner party I hosted and they were gobbled up before I could fill up a second cocktail! In addition to the mighty potent libations, these little apps were a major hit! They require very little prep time and are baked, not fried, meaning low calories but with plenty of flavor! Serve them with store-bought sweet chili sauce for dipping. These babies truly are to die for!
- 1 ½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 3 Thai chili peppers, seeded and chopped
- Juice of one lime
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 green onions, chopped (green parts only)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Cooking spray
- Sweet chili sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place shrimp in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat and sauté garlic, shallots, and peppers until translucent, about 3 minutes. Transfer veggies to a bowl to cool.
- Meanwhile, add to the shrimp the egg whites, bread crumbs, green onion, cilantro, salt, chili peppers, and lime juice. When veggies have cooled, add to the mixture and combine all ingredients well.
- Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Working in batches, form 1-inch balls with the shrimp mixture and place in rows on the baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Spray tops of the shrimp balls with cooking spray before putting in the oven. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Set oven to broil and brown the tops of the shrimp balls, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with a side of sweet chili dipping sauce.
I recently dined at a “to-die-for” Greek restaurant in NYC called, Ethos Gallery. One of my favorite seafood dishes was the “Octapodi Sharas” (grilled octopus) on their small plates menu. Wow! My mouth was full of sheer joy! I think our entire dinner party is still dreaming of grilled octopus! It was tender and juicy and incredibly flavorful, which inspired me to make my own version that I could share with you all. Don’t worry, it seems complex but it’s really not! Where the heck do you buy octopus? I buy mine at Whole Foods, but you can often find octopus at your local seafood market or at select Asian markets. This dish makes an awesome appetizer, but is filling enough for a main. Serve it with a side of Roasted Baby Potatoes with Leeks. Kalí óreksi! – which is Greek for “bon appetit!”
Simmer whole octopus in a large pot for one hour until fork tender.
Dunk octopus into an ice bath to cool and maintain its color.
Grill octopus until nicely charred on both sides. I used my stove-top grill pan!
- 25 whole peppercorns (green or black)
- 1 large lemon, cut in half
- 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 head garlic, cut in half length wise
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
- 2 pounds fresh, cleaned whole octopus (head removed)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 leek, cleaned and chopped (white part only)
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Salt & pepper
- 1 large lemon for squeezing
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
- In a large pot of salted water, add peppercorns, lemon (squeezed), thyme, garlic, white wine, and bay leaves. Bring water to a boil. Slowly drop in whole octopus, tentacles first to avoid too much curling. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour. Poke tentacles with a fork to check tenderness (should be very tender). When done, drain into colander and put octopus only into a large glass bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again when octopus has cooled. On a cutting board, cut tentacles into off of into individual whole pieces starting from middle of octopus (keeping tentacles intact). Place whole tentacles into a plastic baggie and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to coat. Set aside to marinate, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a non-stick skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic, leeks, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Cook until translucent. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat either an outdoor grill or grill pan on high. Remove tentacles from marinade and grill until octopus has vivid char marks, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle veggie mixture on top of octopus and squeeze with lemon juice. Garnish with chopped parsley. (Can be served warm or at room temperature.) Serve with a side of Roasted Baby Potatoes with Leeks.
Adapted from: NY Times
This Indonesian recipe is especially delicious because my two nieces helped me make it! We used striped bass for the fish fillets. It’s delicate and flaky when cooked. Any nice white fish will do! Of course, I love heat so if you’re not into that you can go easy on the sambal oelek. I prepared this recipe as an appetizer making mini-cakes, but this is great as a main course as well. Don’t forget the lemon on the side for that extra zing of citrus! Thank you, Darby and Jordan! It was a blast having you in my kitchen!
- 1½ pounds boneless, skinless white fish fillets
- 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass (white part only)
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Roughly chop the fish fillets. In a food processor, pulse the fish to form small chunks. Set fish aside.
- In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium-high. Sauté the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger until translucent but not mushy, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine together the fish, cooked vegetables, sambal oelek, turmeric, cumin, green onions, mint, and beaten egg. Form into 3-inch patties and place on a baking tray.
- Wipe out sauté pan and add remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish patties to hot pan in a single layer and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from heat and pat with paper towels. Drizzle fish cakes with sriracha sauce. Serve with lemon wedges and extra sriracha sauce on the side.