3 Appetizer Tips for Your Next Group Gathering

February 17, 2017

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Crab Cake

If first impressions really are the most lasting, hors d’oeuvres take on extra significance during your next group gathering at Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar. (After all, competing with an oceanfront view over Santa Monica Beach is no small task.)

So whether you are serving small bites before your sit-down dinner or hosting an appetizer-laden social gathering, our expert catering team has weighed in with a few insider recommendations:

1. When dinner is impending, such as at a cocktail hour before a wedding reception, light hors d’oeuvres like stuffed mushrooms are best, while heavier hors d’oeuvres work well for a corporate party or cocktail reception. Think: sliders, antipasti, and any larger displays.

2. When you are not sure where your event falls, mix it up with both or speak to one of our experts to plan your event. At Shutters and Casa, our team takes care of all the heavy lifting so that you can enjoy your guests in stunning venues like the 4,200-square foot Colonnade Ballroom or outdoors on the Pacific Terrace.

3. Serve a wide range of appetizers to appeal to a variety of tastes. On our new catering menu, we offer cold appetizers like bay scallops with avocado ceviche, and mini lobster rolls, as well as hot appetizers including edamame pot stickers, Thai chicken with peanut sauce, and petit crab cakes.

To spark your inspiration, here is one of our favorite appetizer recipes for group gatherings. (Or just for you.)

Crab Cakes

Crab Cake Ingredients:
2 large eggs
2 ½ tbsp. mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup finely diced celery (from one stalk)
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 lb. lump crab meat
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Vegetable or canola oil, for cooking

Tartar Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tbsp. sweet pickle relish
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. minced red onion
1 – 2 tbsp. lemon juice, to taste
1 tbsp. capers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Combine the eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay seasoning, salt, celery, and parsley in a large bowl and mix well. Add the crab meat (be sure to check the meat for any hard and sharp cartilage) and panko; gently fold mixture together until just combined, being careful not to shred the crab meat. Shape into 6 crab cakes (about ½ cup each) and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat a large nonstick pan under medium heat and coat with canola oil. When oil is hot, place crab cakes in pan and cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Be careful as oil may splatter. Serve immediately with tartar sauce or a squeeze of lemon.

For the Tartar Sauce:
1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Note: If you can only find jumbo lump crab meat, you may need to break the pieces up a bit. If the clumps are too large, the crab cakes won’t hold together well.

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