We love enjoying "happy hour" every day here on the Dirty Dog Ranch. Actually, it's a great way to get in some healthy snacks, unwind and share the day with each other. I usually put out nuts, cheese, raw veggies and of course a glass of nice red wine.
Instead of calling our snacks "appetizers," recently a friend of mine reminded me of the fun word, "amuse-bouche." An amuse-bouche" is a single, bite-sized hors d'oeuve. The term is French, literally translated to "mouth amuser". Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu but rather served according to the chef's selection alone. They are served as a little tingler for the taste buds.
This past weekend, I decided to change it up a bit and chose to create a new "amuse-bouche" for our happy hour. They came out great. Hope you give 'em a try and enjoy!
SHRIMP BALL INGREDIENTS
Pound of raw shrimp (peeled and deveined) – please buy local or U.S. shrimp
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
¼ cup chopped fresh Fennel
½ Red bell pepper (finely diced)
¼ cup chopped Onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 cups frozen sweet corn (thawed)
1 15 oz can crushed pineapple (drained, but reserve juice)
Serrano chile (seeded and diced finely)
¼ cup Apricot jam
1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
½ lime juiced
Red pepper flakes (to taste – however spicy you like it)
½ Onion diced finely
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a food processor, pulse shrimp (careful to not pulse too much and turn shrimp into glue - you want some chunks). Place into large bowl. Pulse corn, pepper, onion, fennel, dill and old bay season. Remove and add to bowl with shrimp. Add 1 cup of panko bread crumbs and 2 eggs. Stir well together. Roll into balls (slightly smaller than a golf ball). Place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to firm up.
In shallow dish, add the remaining cup of panko and cup of Italian bread crumbs; season with salt and pepper. Roll shrimp balls in the bread crumb mixture. Coat the bottom of a large heated skillet with olive oil and add balls to pan in batches. Brown on all sides, remove and place in 250 degree oven (in an even layer) until all shrimp balls are browned. Serve with bamboo skewers and dip in chutney.
Sauté chopped onion and chopped Serrano chile in olive oil until caramelized. Add drained crushed pineapple, agave nectar, apricot jam, red pepper flake, salt and pepper. Stir until combined and heat until starts to bubble. Add juice drained from pineapple as needed to loosen chutney. When reached desired consistency (however thick you like the chutney), remove from heat and squeeze in lime juice. Serve alongside Shrimp Balls.