I hope you all had as restful a Thanksgiving weekend as I did down on the farm. I can’t remember the last time I slept so much and cuddled with so many animals. And it’s a good thing I did, because now begins the inevitable cooking and socializing marathon that is the holiday party season. As a caterer, this means I must get my finger food guns a-blazing and transform my studio apartment into a canape sweatshop until January, when no one wants to hire me anymore and I can spend the month wasting all my hard-earned cash on massages and therapy.
Luckily, I’ve had plenty of catered cocktail parties this year to prepare me for go-time. I always try to put a mix of old standby’s and new favorites on my menus to keep things interesting for myself and to see what hits or misses. One dish that will definitely be on there this winter is shrimp and mango cups. While I hate fussy food, one rule of thumb I’ve gleaned from catering is that the smaller the size, the more popular the dish – and these cute little bites are always a crowd pleaser. You can make the wonton crisps and shrimp salad days in advance, which also makes it an excellent holiday party recipe.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I share some more of my favorite holiday party bites. But if you’re rearing to drink and be merry, this recipe is a great place to start to balance the booze and cheer with a little hard sustenance.
Pace yourself, people. No one likes to spend all 12 days of Christmas hungover.
Mini Shrimp & Mango Cups
Makes 48 bites
If you are not buying pre-cooked shrimp, simply bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the shrimp for 3-5 minutes over low heat, until they’ve turned pink. Drain and immediately transfer shrimp to an ice bath or place the colander under very cold water until the shrimp are no longer steaming hot. The crisps tend to get a little soggy, so make sure you don’t spoon the shrimp salad into the cups too long before the party.
12 wonton skins, cut into 4 squares
3/4 lb medium peeled and deveined shrimp, cooked
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon siracha
½ tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
1 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place wonton skins on a cutting board and brush lightly with oil. Press each into a miniature muffin tin, oiled side down. Bake until wonton crisps are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then set aside and repeat. (The crisps can be made up to two weeks in advance.)
3. Cut each shrimp into 4-5 pieces–small enough to fit in the crisps–and peel and dice the mango into same-sized pieces.
4. In a food processor (if you do not have one, minced finely and combine in a bowl), combine the mayo, mustard, ginger, lime juice, siracha, honey, and salt. Pulse to combine. (This can be made up to a week in advance too.)
5. When you’re ready to serve, toss together the shrimp, mango, ginger dressing, and cilantro. Spoon into the crisps and serve immediately.