This time of year is some of the most exciting for me~ the food obsessed. My family pulls out all the stops when it comes to holiday snacking. The spreads are always the highlight.
My Xmas wish list usually includes a number of cheese balls that my aunt makes. These cheese balls are so coveted by my family that my cousin and I compete over them! Bragging when one of us consumes or covets more than the other…they’re that good!
So, in anticipation of this holiday season I’m sharing with you my aunts spreadable secrets. She comes up with crafty combinations that are simple as well as delicious!
The Winning Ratio:
This is the combination that she follows when building her spreads. The great thing about this ratio is that it works for cold spreads and well as hot baked spreads or dips. Genius!
Here’s the spread skinny…
1 cup base : 1 cup seafood : 1/4 cup veggies : 2 teaspoons seasoning : 1 teaspoon citrus
This seafood spread recipe usually serves 4 people (or 1 cousin, if it’s my family) as an appetizer. Increase according to how many you’re planning on serving. Serving 8? Multiply this ration by 4…and so on.
Best Seafood for Spreads (1 cup)
The seafood is key for a successful spread. You want seafood that is flavorful and will work well with your other ingredients for a nice smooth spread.
- Shrimp (Cameron’s Seafood Spiced Jumbo Gulf Shrimp come pre-cooked and nicely seasoned)
- Crab Meat (Lump Crab Meat is ideal)
- Oyster (cooked ahead of time and chilled)
- Lobster (Cameron’s Seafood Lobster Meat is devine)
- Salmon (cooked ahead of time and chilled)
Build a Base (1 cup)
The base is the building block of a great spread. My aunt swears by cream cheese, softened just a little to room temperature for the ultimate smooth blending.
For a little healthier spread option try:
For a super smooth hot spread add these additional ingredients to your cream cheese:
- Sour cream
For example 1/2 cup cream cheese + 1/4 cup mayonnaise + 1/4 cup sour cream= 1 cup base.
Fun with Veggies and Herbs (1/4 cup)
Vegetables and herbs add so much supporting flavor. Any combination of these are perfection.
- Red onions
- Scallions (my aunt’s favorite)
- Bell peppers
- Garlic (another favorite)
Try combinations like scallions, red bell peppers and spinach or garlic, dill, capers and pickles. Or jalapeños, tomatoes, red onion and cilantro for a Tex-Mex combo.
As long as the combination equals a 1/4 cup.
Don’t Forget the Seasoning or the Citrus (2 teaspoons seasoning and 1 teaspoon citrus)
The final piece de resistance the seasonings and the citrus. These two elements highlight all the other ingredients and harmoniously combines them into a delightful appetizer.
Top seasoning picks:
- Old Bay (my aunt’s favorite0
- Taco Seasoning
- Italian Seasoning
- Ranch Seasoning
- French Onion Dip Seasoning
Top citrus picks:
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
Putting it all Together…
Simply place all of your desired ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth! That’s it! Either roll it into a large ball, like my aunt does for her signature cheese balls, or place in a serving container.
Surround your spreads with assorted crackers, toasted crostini or crudités (celery sticks, carrot sticks, snap peas, broccoli and bell pepper strips are my favorite).
Buy Seafood Online-And spread the love!
All of the seafood listed in these spread tips are available at our online store. As we say, ‘from shore to door, 3 days fresher than the grocery store’-all of our seafood is delivered right to your door when you schedule it, guaranteed! That’s convenience you need, especially during the busy holidays.
About the author
Patterson Watkins is a professional chef with over 17 years of experience. With a robust career in restaurants, contract dining and catering (including 4 Summer Olympic posts preparing food for the athletes!) Patterson joined the Cameron's Seafood team at the end of 2018 to concoct some delicious recipes with our premium seafood items as the centerpiece.