We rounded up four festive holiday starters from some of the Bayou State’s brightest chefs. Find more appetizers here

4 Star-Studded Holiday Starters

5 Star-Studded Holiday Starters

Honey Mascarpone Toasts
Makes 4 to 6 Servings
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch salt
  • ⅓ cup Luxardo Cherries in juice
  • ½ teaspoon half-cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 loaf focaccia, cut into ½-inch slices
  1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place mascarpone, honey, lemon zest, thyme, and salt; process until smooth. (Do not overprocess.) Transfer to a bowl, and top with cherries and juice and peppercorns. Serve with focaccia for dipping.
“This is a very simple and quick dish to execute. With everything else going on, all the holiday cooking, cleaning, and organizing, this dish is quick, fast, and delicious to have set out on your table while entertaining. I will sometimes add a shot of water or heavy whipping cream to help smooth the dip out. Make sure to process the mixture only until incorporated, because if you overwhip, it will turn into butter. Also, try serving with sections of our wonderful Louisiana citrus.”
— Executive Chef Marcus Woodham, The Bower, New Orleans


5 Star-Studded Holiday Starters

West Indies Salad
Makes 6 to 8 Servings
  • ¾ cup finely diced white onion
  • ⅜ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅜ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh lump or jumbo lump crabmeat, picked free of shell
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup ice water
  • ⅓ cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Saltine crackers and Belgian endive, to serve
  1. In bottom of a serving bowl, spread half of onion, and sprinkle with one-third of salt and one-third of pepper. Layer crab on top, and sprinkle with one-third of salt and one-third of pepper. Top with remaining onion, and sprinkle with remaining salt and remaining pepper. Pour oil, ½ cup ice water, and vinegar on top.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (This can also be made the night before and served the next day, as it is best after about 8 hours.) Gently stir before serving. Serve with crackers and endive.
“This is a recipe that most households along Mobile Bay will serve at almost any get-together when blue crabs are in season. It is very important that all the ingredients are fresh since very little goes into it. My favorite way to serve is alongside Premium Saltine Crackers. It’s very simple to make but delicious and always the first to run out at parties.”
—Chef Forrest Jackson, Cochon Butcher, New Orleans


5 Star-Studded Holiday Starters

Hoisin Shrimp Spoons
Makes about 10 servings
  • 32 cooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 pound)
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup chile crisp or pickled spicy peppers
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Garnish: flaked sea salt
  1. On large soup spoons, place 1 shrimp each, and top with hoisin, chile crisp, peanuts, and cilantro leaves. Garnish with sea salt, if desired, and refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
I love these Hoisin Shrimp Spoons. It’s a perfect combination of delicate seafood with bold flavor. They are a bite-size bit of heaven. Whether you serve shrimp hot or cold, they retain their seafood flavor, which makes them the perfect holiday appetizers.”
—Chef Sophina Uong, Mr. Mao, New Orleans


5 Star-Studded Holiday Starters

Chef Eddie's Savory Seafood Stew
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)
  • 2 bell peppers, finely chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes in liquid, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup Creole seasoning*
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 8 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound medium fresh Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ pound skinless flaky white fish, such as halibut or cod, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds frozen crawfish tails
  • 2 cups ¾-inch-cubed russet potato
  • ½ cup dry sherry wine
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • Hot cooked rice, to serve
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley
  1. In a stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell peppers, and parsley; cook, stirring frequently, until onion begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add chicken, tomatoes and juices, 3 cups water, butter, Creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, salt, and black pepper to onion mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp, fish, crawfish, potatoes, wine, and food coloring to pot, and stir; cook for 12 minutes. Discard bay leaves, if desired. Serve with rice. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
*We used Tony’s Original Creole Seasoning.

“This Savory Seafood Stew is served up every Christmas by Eddie’s grandson Bryant Ashton. Bryant, along with his uncle Geno, grandmother Oma, and siblings Dreike, Britney, Jerald, Javia, and Jarrett, will continue to pass down recipes to younger generations for years to come. Visit Eddie’s Restaurant located on the corner of Hollywood and Union Streets in Shreveport.”
— Owner Mavice Thigpen, Eddie’s Restaurant, Shreveport



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