Seafood and fish are naturals for a beach party, but we've also included a jerk chicken and veggie option that fit nicely into the seaside theme. And remember, everything tastes better when served to you on a silver platter.
Here are our picks for a coastal, surfer, or beach themed event:
And for the bar, add a bowl of goldfish, Life Savers, or gummy fish, just for fun!
Mango Crab Stacks1
Advance prep: Day of party Last-minute prep: Assemble stacks and serve immediately Difficulty: Moderate Yield: 36 Hors d'oeuvres
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1-3/4 tsp wasabi paste or 2-1/2 tsp wasabi powder mixed with 1-1/4 water
6 oz lump crabmeat, cartilage removed
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 large, ripe mangoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Brioche or French bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick and toasted
Combine the mayonnaise and wasabi paste and reserve 1/4 cup of the mixture.
Add crabmeat, bell pepper, cilantro, and lemon juice and mix well.
Add salt to taste.
Cover in an air tight container and refrigerate.
Use an 1-1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out 36 rounds from the mango slices.
Dice the leftover mango pieces for garnish.
Use the same size round cookie cutter to cut out 36 rounds from the toasted brioche or French bread.
You may store the mango and bread in air tight containers for 2 hours. Refrigerate the mango.
Spread some of the reserved wasabi on each bread round.
Top with a mango round.
Top with 1 teaspoon of the crabmeat salad mixture.
Garnish with diced mango.
Serve immediately or the bread will become soggy.
Scallop Ceviche Tomatoes2
Advance prep: Day before party (required) Last-minute prep: None Difficulty: Easy Yield: 28 Hors d'oeuvres
1/2 lb scallops
Juice of 4 limes
2 jalapenos, seeds removed, diced finely
1 bunch scallions
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped finely
Salt & cayenne pepper to taste
28 cherry tomatoes
The day before the party, combine the lime juice, jalapenos, scallions, cilantro, salt and cayenne pepper in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
Cut the scallops into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.
Add scallops to lime mixture and toss to cover.
Cover and refrigerate overnight for 16 hours, stirring occasionally.
To assemble, slice a small bit of the bottom of each tomato, so they will stand flat.
Cut a small slice off of the top of each tomato.
Hollow out each tomato with a sharp knife, grapefruit spoon, or small melon baller.
Turn the tomatoes upside down to drain for about 30 minutes.
Stuff two or three scallop pieces into each cherry tomato.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Advance prep: Day of party Last-minute prep: Assemble 30 minutes before serving Difficulty: Moderate Yield: 24 Hors d'oeuvres
1/2 lb medium shrimp (40), peeled & deveined
2 tsp salt
1 sandwich loaf (unsliced)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup watercress, loosely packed
1/3 cup chopped chives
1/3 cup chopped dill
1 lemon, half of it sliced
1 small onion, sliced
5 or 6 black peppercorns
5 or 6 radishes, sliced paper thin
48 small pieces of dill for garnish
Watercress & Shrimp
Boil 3 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of salt.
Blanch watercress for 1 minute.
Remove with a slotted spoon and blot with paper towels, set aside.
Add onion, sliced half of the lemon and peppercorns to the water.
Bring to a boil and add the shrimp.
Cook for 2 minutes.
Drain and immerse shrimp in ice water.
Drain again and slice each shrimp in half.
Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the shrimp in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
Bread & Butter
Place butter, watercress, chives, and dill in a food processor or blender and process until creamy.
Cut the crust off one long side of the sandwich loaf, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices.
Remove the other crusts.
Spread each slice with a thin layer of her butter.
Fill a pastry bag with butter and pipe along each side of the bread lengthwise i.e. the two long sides of the bread slice.
Place in an air tight container and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours. You may wish to cut the buttered slices into 1-1/2 inch wide rectangles after 30 minutes and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cut buttered slices into 1-1/2 inch wide rectangles (each end will be piped).
Place 1 or 2 radish slices, 2 shrimp halves, and a small dill sprig on each.
Crab Cakes with Cilantro Lime
Advance prep: Day before party Last-minute prep: Bake 30 minutes or less before, add sauce Difficulty: Moderate Yield: 36 Hors d'oeuvres
1 lb lump crabmeat, cartilage
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
3/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp hot sauce
2 slices of bread broken into small crumbs
4 Tbsp canola oil
Whisk together mayonnaise, egg, mustard, Old Bay, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
Stir in crab meat.
Chill, covered, for 2 hours.
Combine the crabmeat and bread crumbs.
Add the mayonnaise mixture to the crabmeat and stir.
Form 1 teaspoon crab mixture into a 1-1/2 inch diameter cake. Repeat until the mixture is gone.
To cook, preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
Heat the 4 tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet.
Place the crab cakes, several at a time, and cook until golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.
Drain on paper towels.
Place the crab cakes on a baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
You may keep the crab cakes warm for 30 minutes or refrigerate and re-bake before serving.
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp lime zest
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 garlic glove, minced
Combine all ingredients.
Refrigerate in an air tight container until thickened.
If reheating, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake crab cakes until heated through, about 10 minutes.
Top each crab cake with dollop of cilantro-lime sauce and serve.
Jerk Chicken Bites
Advance prep: Day before party (marinate) Last-minute prep: Bake 20 minutes Difficulty: Easy Yield: 50 Hors d'oeuvres
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cup green onions, finely chopped
4 tsp fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
2 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 tsp black pepper
6 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp vinegar, any kind
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Combine all ingredients except chicken in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Cut chicken into bite-size 1-inch cubes.
Place chicken in a glass or stainless steel bowl.
Add the marinade and stir until well coated.
Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, stirring several times.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the chicken on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 20 minutes or until done.
Skewer each jerk chicken bite with a frilly cellophane toothpick and serve.
Cut fresh mango and pineapple into bite size chunks.
Skewer a piece of fruit, then a piece of chicken on each toothpick.
Curried Star Fish3
Advance prep: Day before party Last-minute prep: Assemble Difficulty: Easy Yield: 40 Hors d'oeuvres
7 oz can of tuna, drained
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped chutney
Curry powder to taste
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
20 slices white bread, toasted
1-1/2" Star-shaped cookie cutter
Combine all the ingredients, except the bread, in a bowl and mix well.
Cover in an air tight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Using a small 1-1/2 inch, star-shaped cookie cutter, cut 40 stars from the toasted bread.
Store in an air tight container until ready to use.
To serve, spoon the tuna mixture onto each toasted star.
Life Rings & Crab Buoys
Advance prep: Day before party Last-minute prep: Assemble 2 hours before party Difficulty: Moderate Yield: 60 Hors d'oeuvres
30 slices of white bread, left out 2 hours to slightly harden
3 artichoke hearts
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz crab meat
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
Roasted red peppers, unsliced
Round biscuit cutters: 2-3/4" & 1-3/8"
Combine artichoke hearts, crab, onions, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until chopped small. Add cream cheese and puree until smooth.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cut out a round from each slice of bread, approximately 2-3/4 inches in diameter,
using a biscuit cutter, and store until ready to serve.
Spread crab mixture to completely cover each round. If necessary, refrigerate
until crab mixture is firm for cutting out the center.
Cut the center out of each round using a 1-3/8 inch biscuit cutter to create a ring and small round.
Cut the roasted red pepper into 4 rectangles approximately 1/2 inch wide and slightly longer in length.
Position the red pepper rectangles equally spaced around the ring.
the roasted red pepper into 3 strips approximately 1/4 inch wide with
one strip about 1-1/2 inch long and the other two about 5/8 inches in
Position the longer strip across the center of the small
round, then place the smaller strips on each side and perpendicular to
the longer strip. It should look like a red X on the small round.
Use blue paper instead of white doilies on your serving tray to look like water.
Serve at room temperature.
Goat Cheese & Watercress Tea Sandwiches
Advance prep: Day of party, up to 8 hours ahead Last-minute prep: None Difficulty: Easy Yield: 16 Hors d'oeuvres
11 oz soft fresh goat cheese (chevre)
3/4 cup fresh watercress leaves, chopped
16 thin slices of cinnamon-raisin, date or whole wheat sandwich bread, crusts trimmed
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Watercress sprigs for garnish
Combine goat cheese and chopped watercress in a bowl and add salt to taste, mix well.
Spread mixture over 8 bread slices.
Top with remaining bread slices.
Butter edges of sandwiches.
Spread pecans on a plate and dip buttered edges into pecans.
Garnish with watercress sprigs.
Cover and refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 8 hours.
1This recipe was modified from Martha Stewart's Hors d'oeuvres Handbook. 2This recipe was modified from Leslie Brenner's The Art Of The Cocktail Party. 3This recipe was modified from The Martha Stewart Cookbook.