One of our favorite holiday party tricks is an impressive appetizer that only looks like it took hours to prepare. Below are three amazing no-cook options from Marcela Valladolid, chef and co-host of The Kitchen on The Food Network. "I’m all about simple appetizers when it comes to the holidays,” says Valladolid. “I love making these recipes in advance so I can bring them out the moment the guests walk in the door—that way I don’t have to worry about cooking and I can mingle with the company!" Try these simple, elegant recipes at your upcoming soirée.
1. Tomatillo Ceviche Tostaditas
“Tomatillo is usually boiled or roasted for salsas, but it's fabulously tart and tangy when used raw, and tastes perfectly balanced with queso fresco and avocado bits in this fish-less ceviche,” says Valladolid.
8 to 10 round tortilla chips (store-bought)
8 medium tomatillos, diced into ⅛-inch cubes
¼ onion, diced into ⅛-inch cubes
1 serrano chile, stemmed, diced into ⅛-inch pieces
1 avocado, diced into ¼-inch cubes
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco
Olive oil for drizzling
1. Combine tomatillos, onion, serrano, avocado, and lime juice and mix well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add crumbled queso fresco and toss gently.
2. Top each chip with 1 heaping tbsp of ceviche. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with finishing salt and serve immediately.
2. Prosciutto Salad on a Stick
“I've been making this salad for a decade and it's always such a huge hit. It's all the flavors you love, all conveniently wrapped up on a stick, no utensils necessary!” says Valladolid. “They make a great addition to any buffet because they add height and are really decorative, not to mention absolutely delicious.”
1½ cups baby arugula
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
12 slices prosciutto
½ cup honey Dijon mustard
12 grissini (thin breadsticks)
1. Toss the arugula, extra-virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar in a medium mixing bowl until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss again.
2. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto flat on a cutting board horizontally. Smear with about 1 tsp of the mustard (you can use more or less if desired). Line the prosciutto with a few leaves of the dressed arugula. Wrap the prosciutto-arugula slice around the upper portion of a grissini stick at an angle, slightly overlapping. Repeat for the remaining 11 portions.
3. Serve standing up in a Mason jar with the prosciutto portion on top.
3. Pomegranate and Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups
“Tart pomegranates that pop in your mouth make the perfect counterpoint to roasted chicken and salty-creamy feta cheese. I like to serve it in butter lettuce cups, but this is a great little lunch salad as well,” suggests Valladolid. Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to avoid having to make it yourself.
¼ cup lemon juice
⅓ cup olive oil
1 tsp honey
Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups pomegranate seeds
1½ cups cooked chicken breast, skinned removed, cut into ¼-inch cubes
¼ cup chopped mint
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 head Butter lettuce, separated into leaves, for serving
1. Whisk lemon juice, olive oil and honey in a small bowl until well combined.
2. Combine pomegranate seeds, chicken, mint, and feta cheese in a medium bowl. Pour dressing over and toss gently, to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Serve salad in lettuce cups.