We are nearing the end of an incredible season - just witnessed the signing of an incredible recruiting class and now wait and wait and wait for the BIG GAMES. Now that we have this agonizing wait what do we do? How about planning and preparing some game day treats.
While not really football related I offer the following. I have a large group of friends scheduled for the big day. They are excited about the games - excited about watching them on my new TV and equally excited about the "Good Eats" I will be serving. With that in mind I thought I would share a few recipes. I also encourage you to add a few of your own in the comments section.
As a seafood lover my plan is to offer the following for appetizers.
West Indies Salad. If you've ever visited Theodore, AL and enjoyed West Indies Salad made famous at Bayley's Seafood Restaurant - if not then I offer
One pound lump crab meat - I use Phillips (Costco has it).
One medium finely chopped onion (Vidalia if possible) or one diced spring onion (the green makes it pretty)
Four oz Wesson Oil
Three oz Cider Vinegar
Four oz ice water (nearly frozen)
In a glass bowl spread half the onions then the crab then the balance of the onions. Pour the liquids over the mix - lightly toss (try not to break up the crab) add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy on crackers or your favorite toasted bread. It is also killer on a bed of lettuce.
Smoked Salmon. I typically do two large fillets (whole fish) cut them into smaller portions after smoking and freeze. I pull them from the freezer a day before I plan to eat them and thaw in the refrigerator. They are good right off the smoker.
1/2 cup kosher salt (option 1 cup)
3/4 cup sugar (option ½ cup)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (option ½ cup)
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 large salmon fillets or sides, pin bones removed (about 2 pounders work better than the big thick ones)
In a bowl, mix together salt, sugar, brown sugar and peppercorns. In a large glass baking dish spread 1/3 of the rub in the bottom. Lay 1 side of the fish skin down onto the rub. Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the flesh of the salmon. Place second side of salmon, flesh down onto the first side. Use the remaining rub to cover the skin on the top piece. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. After 12 hours or so remove the fish from the fridge being careful as there will be a considerable amount of liquid. Rinse with cold water.
Pat salmon with paper towels then place in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) until the surface of the fish is dry and matte-like, 1 to 3 hours depending on humidity. A fan may be used to speed the process.
Smoke fish over smoldering hardwood chips (I use a BGE) - keeping the temperature inside the smoker between 155 degrees F and 165 degrees F until the thickest part of the fish registers 150 degrees. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature, wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
I put on a glaze made from honey Worcestershire and soy about half way through the smoking process. You need to experiment for taste – I use more honey than anything.
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained (I use a bit more)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (skip the salt if you use the previously smoked Salmon)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced.
Cream the cheese until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudités or crackers.
Guaranteed you will be a hero if you serve any or all of the above.