The Christmas meal has left us with nothing but wonderful thoughts of kids opening their gifts early in the morning, to the celebration of an entire day. My Christmas morning was spent informing my kids at 5:45 in the morning that they really needed to get back to sleep. That did not work as I laid back in bed only with the excitement of knowing how excited they must be, waiting, ever so patiently for that final moment where they simply could not take it anymore and had to walk out into the family room, to see all of the presents that Santa Clause brought them that evening. I remember that feeling as a kid. My kids had a blast opening their presents, and we were blessed enough to get them some of the gifts they wanted.
Shortly after the gift opening, I found myself in the kitchen. We were hosting the Christmas meal, and I had everything lined up. As my menu appeared to be a simple one, I found myself in the kitchen either chopping, mixing, sauteing, or a version thereof, the majority of the day. Literally from about 8:00 a.m. until about 8:00 p.m. It was a blast, and everything turned out, well, with the exception of the creme brulee which I forgot to bake the night before. Regardless, everyone was so stuffed that the late night dessert did not matter much anymore, thankfully.
I think the highlight of the entire meal was a couple of appetizers I put together, both having crab and shrimp involved. I wanted some fun, but somewhat elegant finger food to serve, and as my wife loves crab rangoon, I went with a shrimp rangoon instead, along with a crab crostini. The crab crostini was something delightful. Simple ingredients yielded huge flavors that really kick started the party. Lets get started.
- 8 oz lump crab meat
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 scallions, diced
- 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- Baguette, cut into 1/4 slices
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced and mashed into a paste
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
Begin by roasting your peppers. Remove the core, seeds and lining. Rub both of them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a 45o degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the flesh is dark and almost burnt looking. Remove, let cool, then remove the outer skin, and chop.
During the roasting period, make your butter. Add the butter to a small bowl, season with a bit of salt and pepper. Finely mince your garlic, then add a bit of course salt to the top of it. Take the edge of your knife and begin to work it on an angle, mashing the garlic. Continue until you have a garlic paste. Add this to the butter, and mix well. Set it aside.
Next, get another bowl ready and add in the chopped, roasted bell pepper, quarter cup of olive oil, the zest and juice of the lemon, the cilantro, and the lump crab meat. Mix well.
Take your bread slices and generously spread the garlic butter onto the top of them. Place in a 425 degree oven for a few minutes. Flip over, and continue to cook another few minutes. The goal with your crostini is to have a bit of texture, and pull, not a hard crouton, so be mindful when cooking them.
Once cooked, add a nice tablespoon of the crab mixture on to the top of each crostini. Plate and serve. Trust me on this one, when I say something so easy to make like this makes a huge impact on the party. My father-n-law already asked me to make these for his post New Year party.