For Jen and Walter's engagement party I made appetizers. (Adorable photo of Jen and Walter by Valerie. If you haven't checked out Val and her husband, Ryan's blog please do! It's delightful.)
There were guests with different dietary restrictions- some vegans and some who have wheat/gluten allergies- and my feet were too tired from wearing too high heels to the bachelorette party the night before to think of one dish for everyone so I made two: Cape Scallops with Cilantro Gremolata and Ginger Lime Beurre Blanc on a Potato Pancake, which is wheat and gluten free, and Mario Batali's (adapted) Pugliese Mushroom Hodge-Podge with Green Olive Crostini which is vegan.
For the scallops, I took the recipe I used for New Years Day dinner and adapted it into finger food by using Cape Scallops (the really small ones) and making flat little tater tots to serve the whole thing on. Sounds intimidating, was super easy.
3 grated Yukon Gold potatoes
one egg white
a little salt
Mix every thing together and fry in enough oil to cover the pan until golden brown on both sides. I made these hours before and reheated them in a 425º oven on a grate over a cookie sheet.
Just before we headed to the party I made the gremolata and beurre blanc and cooked the scallops. They cook fast, just about a minute and a half on each side. Then I assembled, first topping each potato pancake with a little beurre blanc,
Then a scallop or two (depending on size) and finally sprinkling the whole platter with the gremolata.
It was a huge hit at the party, ridiculously pretty and, I promise, really easy to make. (So EASY!)
The crostini is a bit more time consuming, but no less easy. It's only time consuming because you have to wait for the hodge-podge to boil down- but you can do other things while that's going on- and because I always screw up when trying to make lots of toast under the broiler and end up having to do it 3 times. (Steven wants me to point out that this time I put him in charge of toast making and he did a fantastic job- first time. He's a peach.)
For the Hodge Podge:
1 pound mixed wild and regular mushrooms
1/2 medium red onion, chopped (if your onion is really strong, soak it in hot water for 10 minutes or so before mixing it in to lessen the bitterness.)
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
4 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup tomato sauce (especially good if you made and canned it last summer!)
Throw it all in a big saucepan and cook it until nice and saucy (about 40 minutes) stirring occasionally, and meanwhile make the olive pesto. (and if you're going to a party, put on make-up.)
For the pesto:
1 1/2 cups pitted green olives
1/2 medium red onion
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
make it just how you would basil pesto. Throw every thing in a food processor and chop for a minute. Then add the oil in a steady stream until it all mixes together in a nice thick paste.
Both the hodge-podge and the pesto can be made a day or two ahead and reheated and assembled the day of your event. (btw, we had leftovers of both and I've been having it for lunch the last 2 days. I think it actually tastes better a couple days old.)
Cover each piece of toast with the olive pesto and then the hodge-podge and serve. (I've made this dish a few times, once for my delightfully demanding father in law and he LOVED it.)