If I had to choose my favorite type of meal, it would probably be a dinner of appetizers. I love how each little bite is packed with flavor and color. During the December holiday season I make a lot of appetizers for parties and festive dinners. One of my new favorites is a twist on the tea sandwiches I dined on years ago at a women’s social club in Connecticut (if you’re thinking pearls and bridge games, you’re close… and my visits there were for work, not pleasure). The tea sandwiches were made of squares of freshly baked white toast with either butter and shrimp or butter and cold vegetables. When I describe it that way, it doesn’t sound all that appealing, but they were actually pretty good. Mine are even better, I dare say out-of-this-world delicious. And the best part is you don’t have to wear pearls or play bridge to enjoy them!
This recipe makes round toasts topped with a seasoned mayonnaise, shrimp and radishes. You can omit either the shrimp or the radishes and it’s still delicious. If you don’t care for mayonnaise, feel free to make a seasoned butter spread instead by combining the herbs with softened butter. Mmm, that sounds good.
Shrimp and Radish Toasts
2 cloves of minced garlic
½ pound raw shrimp, medium size or larger, thawed and shells (including shell on the tail) removed.
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup white wine
½ cup mayonnaise
Fresh dill or chives, chopped (or both!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the shrimp: Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and melt the butter. When the butter is sizzling, add garlic, cook until puffy but not brown. Add the shrimp, being careful to lay them flat and not crowd the pan. Cook them in 2 batches if needed. When the pink color is starting to show through the top of the shrimp, turn each one individually. The pan should be sizzling but not smoking. After a minute or two, check to see that the shrimp are just cooked through. You can do this by removing one from the pan and cutting through the thick end. Hold it up and make sure it’s all white inside. If it’s translucent in the middle, it’s not cooked through. Return it to the pan.
When the shrimp are cooked through, add the wine, stir all the ingredients and cook off the alcohol for 1-2 minutes. Remove the shrimp and let the wine cook into a thicker sauce for a few minutes. When it has reduced, pour it over the shrimp and let the dish cool to room temperature.
Prepare the bread by slicing the baguette into ½” thick rounds. Toast them in a 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet for a few minutes until lightly crispy.
Prepare the mayonnaise (or butter mixture) by mixing the mayonnaise with the herbs.
Slice the radishes thinly.
Now it’s time to assemble your delicious treat: On each round of toast, spread the mayonnaise mixture. Top with radishes and a shrimp or two. If the shrimp seem too big, you can slice them in half lengthwise, making long, thin shrimp halves. Take my advice and always eat the first one you make immediately, and adjust your proportions as you see fit.