There are a lot of good appetizers in the NOLA.com recipe database, but many of them are true starter dishes. For Christmas dinner, I needed some true hors d'oeuvres-"finger food"-for folks to pick on as we all arrived for dinner. i came across what looked like a tasty shrimp recipe from the Pelican Club.
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The recipe calls for jumbo shrimp (don't you just love that oxymoron?), but the more I read it the more I thought it would convert to an hors d'oeuvre.
Here's theoriginal recipe for The Pelican Club's spicy rum shrimp with cranberries, citrus, and chiles. The ingredients list:
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup diced sweet peppers
6 hot chiles, minced
1/4 cup diced sweet onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 ounces cranberries
1 cup diced pineapple
1 pound jumbo deveined shrimp
3 bay leaves
I made four deviations from this list. First, I used 50-count shrimp instead of jumbo (which are usually 5-10 count). Second, since this is supposed to be finger-food, I used mini phyllo shells, instead of pouring the sauce over the jumbo shrimp. Three, I used Old New Orleans "Cajun Spice" Rum.
The fourth deviation was the chiles. I don't know much at all about chiles and which kind to use when the recipe is vague. I do know that this stuff is awesome, so it was just a matter of hitting the right spice level. For a test batch, which was half a pound of shrimp and the rest of the ingredients halved, I used three teaspoons of this chili sauce. That gave it an awesome kick. Kevin and I loved it, but Mrs. Yatpundit thought it might be a bit much for the family. On the full batch, I went with four teaspoons rather than doubling the test quantity to six.
In a large skillet, melt butter and saute the sweet peppers, chiles, onion, garlic, cranberries and pineapple until softened.
The pineapple is Dole, canned. It worked out OK.
I used frozen shrimp, mainly because I was lazy and had other cooking to do. I bought a pound of 50-count shrimp, thawed them, and cut them into thirds, which made good-sized pieces for the phyllo cups.
Add shrimp, bay leaves, rum, orange juice and zest and salt. Cook until shrimp are done. Remove the shrimp and keep warm. Reduce the sauce and serve with the shrimp.
Once the sauce was reduced, rather than serve it over the jumbos, I spooned the mixture into the phyllo shells. When we got to my sister-in-law's house, I re-heated the shells for about 5 minutes in a 350F oven.
Voila! Apologies for the poor-quality photo of the finished product, but they started in on the shells so fast when we got there, I didn't get to take a proper photo! This shot is of the test batch. The spicy shrimp are on the right; on the left are some shells with shrimp remoulade in them. I did them both, so family could help me decide which to make for Christmas. They both overwhelmingly chose the Pelican Club's shrimp!