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Fleur de Lolly: Antipasto Skewers add color to buffet table

Laura Tolbert
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Shrimp with Champagne Beurre Blanc.
Antipasto Skewers.

Imagine the delicious Italian flavors of an antipasto platter on a skewer. Such a beautiful and colorful presentation really adds a great pop of color to your buffet table. You can make as many or few skewers as you like. The process is the same.

ANTIPASTO SKEWERS

24-ounce package of refrigerated fresh mini cheese tortellini

3/4 cup Italian salad dressing

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pimento-stuffed green olives

Sliced salami, cut into fourths

Sliced Provolone cheese, cut into fourths

Prepare the tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cool water, and drain again.

Place tortellini in a bowl. Pour the salad dressing over the pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss again. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to assemble the skewers, place one olive onto the skewer, followed by a tortellini. Fold the salami quarter slice in half and thread it onto the skewer. Fold the Provolone quarter slice in half and do the same. Repeat with another salami slice and then another green olive.

Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

MARINATED SHRIMP WITH CHAMPAGNE BEURRE BLANC

Beurre blanc is a butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar, wine and shallots to which cold pieces of butter are added one at a time and whisked in entirely before the next piece is added. Add butter over low heat, or even off the heat source, so the sauce doesn't separate.

This dish is not a recipe you can whip up at the spur of the moment. You'll need to plan time to marinate the shrimp, prepare the reduction as the sauce base and then slowly whisk in the butter. But rest assured, your diners will be wowed!

You can either serve medium-sized shrimp as an elegant seafood appetizer, or use the largest shrimp you can find (and afford) and serve as a main-course dish.

For the sauce base:

2 cups Champagne or other dry sparkling wine

1 cup finely chopped shallots

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Combine Champagne, shallots, vinegar and peppercorns in a heavy medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1 cup liquid, about 20 minutes. You can make this up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

For the shrimp:

1 cup Champagne or other dry sparkling wine

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons minced shallots

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

24 extra-large uncooked shrimp (about 2 pounds), peeled and deveined, with tail left intact

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

Combine Champagne, olive oil, shallots and ground pepper in a resealable plastic bag. Add the shrimp to the bag and seal; shake the bag to coat shrimp evenly. Marinate shrimp at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally. Mix the chives, tarragon and parsley in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat broiler. Spray broiler pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Drain shrimp; discard plastic bag with marinade. Arrange shrimp on prepared pan in a single layer. Broil shrimp until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Stand three or four shrimp tails upright in the center of each plate.

Rewarm sauce base over medium-low heat. Whisk in butter, one piece at a time, allowing each to melt before adding next (do not boil or sauce WILL separate).

Season beurre blanc to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon warm sauce around shrimp. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve.

- Adapted from Epicurous.com

Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. She won the Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram and fleurdelolly@yahoo.com