december 16, 2020
You read the phrase self care quite a bit these days. Get good quality sleep and plenty of it, be sure to exercise mind and body, read thought provoking books and don’t skimp on the aromatherapy. The idea of eating well and thoughtfully so doesn’t always make the list. Let’s change that.
Why is it that we go all out for our guests when it comes to fancy appetizers, but for ourselves we settle for chips and dip? I get it—sweatpants attire may clash with caviar and champagne. Especially at holiday time, and especially to bid adieu to an unpopular year, we need more self care in the eats department. This pomegranate-studded shrimp spread hits all the right notes : creamy with cheese and chewy with shrimp and blessed with the bite of horseradish and scallion and seasonal with the seeds of that jeweled winter fruit. Did I mention that it’s easy and may be made ahead?
You can go casual with crackers, healthyish with slices of crisp apple or pear and fancyish with homemade toast points. Inspiration for this spread comes from a childhood memory of the once popular party dish of cream cheese block topped with shrimp cocktail. Man, did we think this was high living. Not that we cringe at the memory, but seeing it proudly displayed on the pages of my midcentury cookbooks makes me realize how far we have come in the appetizer game. Another update to the kitschy Asian appetizer of years past is Sesame Shrimp Toasts, with the deep fryer taking a hike in favor of baking in the oven.
So even if there are no guests to impress this winter, make a nice shrimp cocktail spread all for you and your fellow homebodies. You don’t even need to change your sweatpants. Merry Christmas!
Shrimp and Pomegranate Spread
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes about 2 cups
8 ounces fresh or defrosted raw shrimp, any size, peeled and deveined
kosher and fine sea salts
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup good quality ketchup
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon horseradish, drained well
2 scallions, minced
½ cup pomegranate seeds
- Bring water and pinch of kosher salt to boil in a small quart saucepan.
- Add shrimp, stir to make sure all are submerged, and cook about 30-35 seconds until shrimp are just pink.
- Drain shrimp and cool; chop finely.
- In small mixing bowl, use electric mixer to blend cream cheese, ketchup, worcestershire and horseradish with pinch of fine sea salt, scraping sides of bowl with spatula as needed.
- Fold in shrimp, scallion and pomegranate seeds with spatula.
- Chill to develop flavor at least 2 hours; may be made ahead up to 2 days.