Simple party food full of holiday magic and explosive flavor

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Holiday party food for the smarty cook

Herewith, a handful of ideas for your holiday party mix that will win over hearts and warm people up for the cold nights ahead. All from your friends at EuroCAST, who actually made and ate this food to test its holiday worthiness for you. You are welcome.

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Meatballs (polpette)

You can serve these with pasta and pesto, yes. And you should. But when you make these meatballs, make a lot of them. Because they’re absolutely extraordinary passed as party food, or presented on the table for passersby, who will, despite their name, not pass these by.

Ground meat in Italy (polpe … think “pulp”) gets rolled into little (-ette) balls. They're called polpette.  (Now you'll never forget the Italian word.)

But, tiny compared to the two- to three-inchers you'll find in the US, they pack flavor and have a lovely firm texture on the outside when you make them this way. In Italy, they use ground pork, beef, or veal, or combinations of those three, in their meatballs. It's a great idea.

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb sweet Italian pork sausage

  • 1 lb ground best-quality sirloin

  • 2 cups panko breadcrubs

  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan

  • 1/2 cup finely minced parsley including the stems

  • 1 T kosher salt

  • 1/2 T black pepper

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Procedure

  1. After washing your hands carefully (clean hands, people!), combine all the ingredients to make the meatball mixture

  2. Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of your EuroCAST double roaster just big enough to cover the bottom

  3. Form the meatball mixture into 1-1/2 inch-diameter balls and place them side-by-side on the parchment paper in the lid

  4. Give each one a little nudge so they sit neatly in their row

  5. Bake in a 375 F oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

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The meatballs, even though they're smallish, are formidable in flavor. Just a couple on the plate will do. Which means with this this recipe -- if you have as I do one plus an even number of teenagers (we are a table of three!) -- you'll have plenty for visitors and relatives.

Blistered shishito peppers in creamy dip

I love these so much. Hot, sweet, smoky, garlicky. I do these on the EuroCAST griddle with the handle removed. (See our videos here on this site to remind yourself how simple and fast it is to put on and remove the handles.)

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  1. Grab a few fistfuls of shishito peppers, and toss them with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle generously with Kosher salt.

  2. Array them on your EuroCAST griddle (handle off) and place in the center of 450F oven until their skins start to char and blacken, about 15 minutes.

  3. Remove and top with dried daikon, crumbled seaweed, black sesame seeds, and bonita flakes.

  4. The dip is a sauce built from a cup of sour cream jacked up with a few smashed, then finely-minced, cloves of garlic. Then drop in a few anchovy filets. Top with sesame and aleppo flakes.

  5. Dig in using your fingers, or, if you must, toothpicks. (Fingers are better.)

TOMATO AND BACON NAPOLEONS

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The griddle makes your life easier, yet again. Handle off, yet again. Make these, prepare to pass at your party to loud exclaims of praise and delight.

  1. Get some puff pastry (don’t make it, buy it, but do choose a good one).

  2. Cut the puff pastry squares into thirds/

  3. Place them on your EuroCAST griddle and then slide them into a 350F pre-heated oven.

  4. Cook until just baked through, about four minutes.

  5. Flip them over (I use my fingers because I can stand heat, but a non-stick-friendly spatula can be your friend).

  6. Cook another 2-4 minutes in the oven.

  7. Let cool.

  8. Layer in some tomato jam, feta, black pepper and a wee bit of olive oil.

spicy artichoke with grilled serrano peppers

A totally vegetarian option, my friends. Everyone is welcome in my tent.

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Drain one large can of artichoke hearts (stored in water), pat dry

Grill the artichoke hearts on the grill pan, along with a small handful of wholesaled Serrano peppers.

Gently incorporate:

  1. Add 1/4 cup chopped, drained pickled jalapeños with 2 T of their pickling juice

  2. 6 oz cream cheese

  3. 1/4 cup sour cream

  4. Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish this with the grilled artichoke and peppers.

Let it sit.

Then serve along with chips of your choice (I like salt and black pepper chips).


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Paul WardComment