I love finger foods. I mean, why create an extra mess of dishes and silverware when you don't have to? Sometimes it's fun to get a little messy.
If you don't mind getting your hands dirty at dinner you can't go wrong with the peel 'n' eat shrimp recipe David Lentz of the Hungry Cat shared with us a few years back — large Mexican white shrimp steamed in a spicy beer reduction. They take an hour or two to marinate, so you'll need to plan ahead, but once you get the dish cooking it comes together in about a half-hour, plenty of time for you to lay out the newspaper over the table and ready a stack of napkins!
Or try the smoked salmon pizza from Morton's Steakhouse. Top a prepared pizza crust with a little sour cream and smoked salmon, along with chopped red onion, fresh dill and capers. It takes all of 15 minutes to whip up.
And in this take on chicken adobo from chef Andre Guerrero, chicken pieces are simmered in a fragrant blend of soy sauce, garlic, cider vinegar, black pepper and bay leaves. When the chicken is tender, the sauce is reduced, then tossed again with the chicken before serving. It's a wonderfully rich yet simple dish, perfect served alongside a simple salad or side — Guerrero recommends jasmine rice — and it comes together in only an hour.
For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HUNGRY CAT'S PEEL 'N' EAT SHRIMP
Total time: About 55 minutes, plus marinating time for the shrimp
Servings: About 5 servings (10 shrimp each)
Note: Adapted from chef David Lentz of the Hungry Cat. Mexican white shrimp are available at seafood markets and fine fish counters. Pabst or Tecate is recommended for the beer. The restaurant serves this dish with cocktail sauce.
2 1/2 pounds Mexican white shrimp, defrosted
4 (12-ounce cans) of beer, divided
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon Hungarian
2 tablespoons celery salt
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 head garlic
5 tablespoons best-quality olive oil, divided
1 large white onion, chopped
1 sprig rosemary
1 chile de arbol
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with the contents of 1 can of beer. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
2. In a small bowl, combine the Old Bay, paprika, celery salt, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and ground ginger. Set aside.
3. With a sharp knife, cut the head of garlic (with the peel) in half crosswise. In a large stockpot heated over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chopped onion, all of the garlic, the rosemary and chile de arbol and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of the spice blend and the juice of 1 lemon, stirring. Add the remaining beer and reduce the liquid by three-fourths over high heat, about 20 minutes.
4. Drain the shrimp and add them to the pot. Cover the pot, and steam just until the shrimp are cooked, 4 to 5 minutes over high heat. The shrimp will be ready when they turn white; be careful not to overcook them.
5. Remove the shrimp to a large baking sheet with sides and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle over more of the spice blend to taste (we used 2 tablespoons). Sprinkle with the parsley and the juice from the remaining lemon. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 279 calories; 36 grams protein; 4 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 10 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 339 mg. cholesterol; 888 mg. sodium.
MORTON'S SMOKED SALMON PIZZA
Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8
Note: Adapted from Morton's Steakhouse
1 (12-inch) thin crust prepared pizza crust
1/4 cup sour cream
Scant 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
5 ounces smoked salmon, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon drained capers
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the prepared crust directly on the oven rack and heat until the crust is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the warmed crust to a cutting board.
2. Spread the sour cream over the crust, leaving a one-half-inch border. Sprinkle about half of the red onion over the sour cream and sprinkle half of the dill over the onion.
3. Lay the salmon slices over the pizza to cover the sour cream, onion and dill. Sprinkle the remaining onion and dill over the salmon, then scatter the capers over them. Cut the pizza into wedges and serve at once.
Each of 8 servings: 171 calories; 7 grams protein; 26 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 4 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 11 mg cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 511 mg sodium.
Total time: 1 hour
Note: Adapted from Andre Guerrero of Marché, Boho and the Oinkster. Guerrero serves this with steamed jasmine rice.
1 (3 1/2 pound) whole chicken
12 whole cloves garlic
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
4 dried bay leaves
1. Cut the chicken into 10 pieces: breasts, wings, thighs and legs, cutting the breast pieces in half. Place the chicken pieces into a large lidded Dutch oven or casserole. Add the garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, pepper and bay leaves.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low, cover and simmer until the chicken is thoroughly cooked (the meat will be firm, the juices will run clear, and a thermometer inserted will read 165 degrees), about 25 minutes. Turn the chicken halfway through for even cooking.
3. Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the sauce and set aside on a plate. Continue to cook the sauce until it's reduced to about 1 cup, about 10 minutes.
4. Strain the sauce, then add the chicken back to the sauce and toss to coat completely, before moving to a serving platter.
Each serving: 478 calories; 52 grams protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 25 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 193 mg. cholesterol; 1 gram sugar; 1,940 mg. sodium.