Making New Years Eve Appetizers with Melina Hammer

@melinahammer
Melina shows you how to make three delicious New Years Eve appetizers including; Roasted Carrot Hummus, Herbed Labneh Dip and Scallop Potato Caviar Stacks.

Roasted carrot hummus
makes a generous 4 cups

 

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tahini
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp harissa
juice of 1/2-1 lemon
4 carrots
good olive oil, for drizzling
kosher salt + freshly cracked pepper

optional garnishes
za'atar
sumac
harissa
chopped fresh parsley
toasted pepitas or sunflower seeds
good olive oil

 

Soak chickpeas overnight. Drain, rinse, and just-cover with water in a small saucepan. Add baking soda and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour - they should be very soft.

 

While chickpeas are cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). Scrub carrots and drizzle with oil. Toss to coat, then season with s+p. Arrange carrots along the periphery of a parchment-covered baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until caramelized and softened.

 

Allow chickpeas and carrots to cool. Meanwhile, toast the cumin (followed by coriander) in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Agitate pan so that spices do not burn. Once they become fragrant, about 3 minutes, transfer to a mortar and grind with a pestle. Alternatively, you can use a spice grinder to achieve a powder consistency to your liking.

 

Pulse garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and lemon juice together in a food processor. Add tahini and repeat. Add carrots, breaking them up as you add them to blend more easily, and drizzle a little olive oil to loosen the mixture and successfully incorporate. Pause occasionally to scrape down the sides.

 

Strain chickpeas from their liquid, add, and pulse to combine. Drizzle chickpea liquid in a fine stream to loosen the hummus as you blend. If you need more liquid than what remains, drizzle a few tablespoons of water at a time and pulse, until you reach the desired consistency.

 

Add ground coriander, cumin, and harissa, pulse to combine, and taste. Add more s+p to your taste, or more harissa. Pulse one final round, then transfer to a serving platter, and unless your gathering is large, reserve some for later so that the whole batch doesn't sit out all night. Cover loosely with cellophane until ready to serve and garnish once your guests arrive.

 

Caper-herb labne
makes a generous 2 cups

 

1 1/2 cups fresh parsley, leaves picked from stems, plus extra for garnish
1 1/2 cups cilantro, leaves picked from stems
2 cups labne
1 1/2 tbsp salt-packed capers, rinsed, plus extra for garnish
good olive oil, for drizzling
freshly cracked black pepper

 

crudité options... really, any crunchy veg will do 
Here are some ideas to get you started!
radish wedges
watermelon radish wedges (arranged on a bed of ice does wonders to keep this gorgeously colorful root veg its most vibrant)
green beans, blanched and shocked
Persian cucumbers or Kirby spears
colorful carrots
bell pepper spears
sliced fennel
cauliflower florets
broccoli florets
celery stalks
 

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients and blitz to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl, reserving extra to refresh later into the night. Chill until ready to serve and garnish once your guests arrive.


Caviar-potato chip-scallop stacks

1-2 sea scallops per person
1 potato chip per scallop
trout or salmon roe - a small spoonful (less than 1 teaspoon) per stack
fresh chives, finely snipped
2-3 tbsp butter
good olive oil, for searing
kosher salt + freshly cracked pepper

 

Rinse and pat scallops dry and season with s+p. Heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan over high heat. Add a glug of oil and when it begins to shimmer, add 1/2 the butter. Once butter stops foaming, add half the scallops, evenly spaced to avoid crowding. They should immediately sizzle.

 

Sear undisturbed for 3 minutes, then check for caramelization and rotate if needed. Turn to second side and baste each scallop in the hot fat mixture, tilting pan towards you to ladle the hot fat as they cook. Baste-on-repeat for another minute, then transfer seared scallops to a platter. Repeat with second batch. Note: the pan will smoke, as extremely high heat is what is needed to achieve the beautiful caramelized scallop surface. Worth it! Open a window if need be, or turn on the the exhaust fan above your stovetop.

 

Place scallops onto a serving platter. Choose chips to fit your individual scallops and begin stacking. Spoon caviar onto chips and then sprinkle with chives. Assemble your stacks once guests arrive (or just before) to avoid chips from becoming soggy. The experience alone is a conversation piece!

 

For more delicious recipes by Melina of @melinahammer, be sure to check out her blog here!