Small bites, big flavor

Whether you’re prepping for an extravagant party or an impromptu get-together, put the party in the palm of your hand with these simple yet scrumptious bite-sized appetizers.

Alaska Salmon Cakes with Yogurt Dill Sauce

Makes 4

Salmon Cakes
1 egg
1/4 cup small-curd nonfat cottage cheese
1 Tbs chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 can (14.75 ounces) traditional pack Alaska salmon or 2 cans or pouches (6 to 7.1 ounces each) skinless, boneless salmon, drained and chunked
3 Tbs garlic-and-herb bread crumbs
Vegetable oil

In medium bowl, whisk egg lightly. Add cottage cheese, dill, lemon pepper and green onions; mix well. Mix in drained salmon, then sprinkle in bread crumbs and mix well. Shape mixture into 4 patties, 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and brush skillet with oil. Fry salmon cakes for about 2-1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Cakes should be crisp and golden on the outside and still moist on the inside.

1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
1 1/2 tsp finely minced fresh garlic
Salt and pepper
1 Tbs chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 cup grated cucumber (squeeze dry)

To make Yogurt Dill Sauce: Mix yogurt and garlic, and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in dill and cucumber. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Source: Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Yogurt Dill Sauce
Roasted Potato Crostini with Pesto Cheese

Makes 8

Non-stick cooking spray
1/3 lb (4 medium) Wisconsin Red or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/2 tsp garlic salt
3/4 cup (6 oz) soft cream cheese
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper sauce (optional)
1/4 cup prepared roasted red peppers, finely chopped
Snipped fresh chives or minced green onion (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. On baking sheet, arrange potatoes in single layer; spray lightly with additional cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 tsp of garlic salt. Roast 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned, turning potatoes over halfway and sprinkling with remaining garlic salt. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix together cream cheese, pesto and red pepper sauce, if desired. Pipe or spoon about 2 tsp pesto mixture onto each potato; top with red pepper. Sprinkle with chives, if desired.

Savory Mini Cheese Balls

Makes 6

1 1/2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese (12 oz)
2 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 Tbs pecans, finely chopped

Cut cream cheese into 6 pieces; roll each into a ball. Combine sesame seeds, poppy seeds and half the garlic in small bowl. Mix herbs and remaining garlic in separate small bowl. Combine cranberries and nuts in third bowl. Roll 2 cheese balls in sesame seed mixture, 2 cheese balls in herb mixture and remaining cheese balls in nut mixture. Cut each cheese ball in half and serve with crackers.

Stick a fork in it

For a simple yet stylish appetizer, pair delicate squares of cheese with complementary flavors, such as delicious slices of fruits, veggies, spreads and finely sliced meat cuts. Place each bite-sized morsel on upright forks that are lined up within shallow, wooden boxes that are adorned with labels marking each appetizer option.

Style Tip: Place a Styrofoam layer in boxes and top with salt to hide the foam and to give a clean, white appearance while anchoring forks within each box.
Jalapeno Poppers

Makes 16

16 whole jalapeno peppers, rinsed and drained

2 logs (4 oz each) fresh goat cheese
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup diced green onions
Dash of hot sauce
Cilantro leaves
Mini hot red peppers (optional)

Using small sharp knife, cut slit down one side of each pepper. Leave stem intact and remove seeds and veins. In bowl, mash all cheeses, onion and hot sauce. Divide among peppers, stuffing each generously. Refrigerate. (Note: Recipe can be made ahead to this point.) Arrange peppers in heavy aluminum foil packet. Grill 8-10 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Garnish with cilantro and, if desired, hot red peppers.

Twice Baked Potato Jackets with Rosemary

Makes 16

8 small Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup Sabra Classic Hummus
2 Tbs chopped rosemary
Extra virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
Salt and pepper
Sea salt

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Poke potatoes with fork 2-3 times to allow steam to escape while baking. Place whole potatoes on rimmed sheet pan and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes (depending on size of potatoes) or until potatoes are soft; cool for 10 minutes. Carefully slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop inside into bowl, leaving about 1/4-inch ring of potato around edges. Lightly mash potato chunks in bowl; add hummus and stir until combined. Season mixture with salt and pepper, taste and adjust if necessary. Using spoon, divide potato-hummus filling evenly among potato jackets and broil for 5-7 minutes or until tops are golden and crispy; watch carefully as they burn quickly. Remove from broiler and sprinkle with rosemary and a pinch of sea salt. Serve immediately.

Tip: For a pretty presentation, sprinkle a layer of salt on a serving platter, place potato jackets on top of the salt and tuck sprigs of fresh rosemary around the platter.
Sauteed corn, feta, tomato and scallop crackers

Makes 10

2 ears corn
2 tsp vegetable oil
10 large scallops
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 Tbs finely sliced basil
10 crackers (such as Breton Vinta)

Slice corn off cob. Heat vegetable oil in pan until hot, sauté corn until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool. In another pan, heat vegetable oil until hot. Salt scallops then sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Slice in half to create 20 round scallop discs. Mix corn, feta, tomatoes and basil together. Season with salt and pepper. To compile, place spoonful of corn salad on each cracker. Top with 2 pieces of scallop and 1 sprig of basil.