I love Summer lunches and dinners, especially around Bastille Day which would the same as your 4th of July weekend. It’ an occasion where we can all sit together for meals: not just for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but for little bites throughout the day, as well. But regardless of where you are or what celebration is it, the holiday weekend is, for me, really 100 percent about that Summer Appetizers!
Whether I’m dipping crunchy vegetables into my favorite dips or snacking on BBQ-friendly finger foods , you can bet I’ll be grazing on lots of yummy bites. Here are OuiPlease’s best Summer appetizers to get you snacking like a champ, too.
Time: 1 hour 10 minutes | Makes: 2 Cups
- 2 cups (492 grams) whole-milk ricotta, drained if there’s liquid (see headnote)
- 1 large lemon, or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons minced shallots, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup (13 grams) minced mixed fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley, tarragon, thyme, cilantro and/or basil
- Put the ricotta in a medium bowl. Finely grate the zest of the lemon over it, then halve and squeeze the lemon and blend in the juice. Stir in the shallots, scallions, olive oil, salt and a healthy pinch of pepper. Taste for salt and pepper, then stir in the herbs. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before adjusting for salt, pepper and lemon juice and serving.
- CHOICES: A dollop of this on a cracker or sliced baguette makes a good appetizer; more of it on dark bread with roasted tomatoes, charred lemons or sliced cucumbers makes a tartine; and a lot of it stirred into pasta makes a dinner.
STORING: The spoonable is best the day it is made, but you can keep it for up to 2 days tightly covered in the refrigerator. Stir well before using.
Goat Cheese Beignets
Time: 50 minutes | Cooktime: 15 min | Makes: 16 goat cheese balls
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 4 tablespoons honey, divided
- 2 1/4 cups very cold soda water
- 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 8 ounces fresh goat cheese, cold (the dryer the better, we like the Laura Chenel Chevre)
- 6 cups canola oil, for frying (up to 8 cups as needed)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- To make the batter, sift 2 cups all-purpose flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons honey. Whisk in the soda water until the batter is smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to use — the batter needs to stay as cold as possible until ready to fry.
- The prepare the seasoned flour, combine the remaining 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and finely ground black pepper in a shallow bowl or plate. Set aside.
- Roll the goat cheese into sixteen 1/2-ounce balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer, heat the canola oil to 375º F. Roll the chilled goat cheese balls in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour, then roll the balls into the batter a few at a time, making sure to fully cover the cheese ball. Remove them one or two at a time and carefully drop them into the oil, using a slotted spoon to move them around so they don’t stick to each other or the pot. Cook until golden brown, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, carefully remove the goat cheese from the fryer and drain on a cooling rack or paper towel-lined plate.
- Place the fried goat cheese into a warm bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey and coarsely ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
The Elegant Hors d’Oeuvre’s Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- Bacon (1/2 slice for each water chestnut)
- Dijon mustard
- Brown sugar
- Water chestnuts
- Chutney (optional)
- Cut bacon strips in half and lay them on a cookie sheet. Scoop some Dijon mustard into a small bowl and brown sugar into another. Spread each bacon slice with mustard, then sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Place a water chestnut on each slice, roll up, and secure with a toothpick. (Tip: If you’re short a water chestnut, cut a big one in half!)
- To crisp all sides evenly, you can place the bacon-wrapped water chestnuts on a rack set above a baking sheet, but the rack isn’t necessary. Bake 20 minutes in a 375°F oven, or until bacon is crisp. You can use the broiler to speed this up — just watch them closely, and flip them as needed. Serve with a small bowl of chutney for dipping, or just eat them all as is.
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