When I think of super easy starters, shrimp and cucumber bites immediately spring to mind. When it comes to party finger foods, these are fantastic. They also taste wonderful with brunch, or served as low-fat snacks.
Shrimp and cucumber starters are so easy to assemble I make them for many occasions - summer barbecues, Christmas feasts, New Year's parties and Paddy's Day get-togethers. The list goes on and on.
Even though I never tasted cold shrimp until I came to America, these super easy nibblers qualify as perfect Irish party food in my book. The secret is in the colors.
These ingredients proudly boast the colors of the Irish flag - green, white and orange, so why not make them when celebrating St. Patrick's Day.
Another reason to love these easy, elegant snacks is their low-calorie count. Cucumbers are a healthy alternative to crackers. The herb cream cheese lends delicious buttery texture, complimenting the coolness of the cucumber and shrimp.
And into the bargain, you can't beat a no-cook party starter, especially during the hot summer months, when I try to avoid turning my oven on, or even lighting up a burner indoors.
These are great for summertime hors d'oeuvres. When I was a kid I loved to say "horse devours", and I was very good at devouring every morsel put on a plate before me. I wish my boys would eat like I did when I was young. Only my little girl licks her lips for foods like cold shrimp and cucumbers.
I suppose this technically isn't a recipe at all. Just one look at the picture and it's pretty easy to guess how to put these wee bites together.
All you need is three ingredients to make this easy appetizer: cucumber, garlic and herb cream cheese spread, and of course, the star of the show, the shrimp.
To make life extra easy I love to buy peeled, deveined, and cooked shrimp. If frozen I thaw them according to the package directions, pat them dry with paper towels and season them with a little salt and pepper.
I like to go all fancy and create stripes on the cucumbers with my peeler before slicing them up.
The variation of green shades makes the starters look more appetizing, but then again I am partial to forty shades of green.
Pat the cucumber slices dry with paper towels before assembling the appetizers.
If you don't wish to buy pre-made garlic and herb creamed cheese you can always create your own white spread to hold the cucumber and shrimp together.
One alternative I sometimes use is a mixture of softened cream cheese, sour cream, dill, chopped fresh chives, fresh lemon juice, and salt. This creates a delicious spread.
But nine times out of ten I take the easy route and buy a pre-made spread.
Next comes assembly time. Take a slice of cucumber. Add a dollop of cheese spread, and then add a shrimp on top.
Voilà - an easy-peasy, simple starter that's healthy and tasty too. And don't forget, when March rolls around, these little bites are perfect for St. Patrick's Day.
Here's the printable recipe:
Shrimp and Cucumber Bites
- 2 English cucumbers
- ½ cup garlic and herb creamed cheese
- 30 peeled, deveined and cooked shrimp (prawns in UK)
- salt and pepper to season shrimp
- Thaw the shrimp per package instructions if using frozen shrimp. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the shrimp with about ⅛ teaspoon of salt and pepper to season.
- Peel 4 vertical stripes of skin from the outside of each cucumber, alternating dark peel and light no-peel stripes. Cut each cucumber into ¾ inch wide slices. Dry off the cucumber slices using paper towels.
- Add a teaspoon of cream cheese spread on top of each cucumber slice.
- Place one shrimp on top of each cucumber slice.
- Serve cold.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
Here are some other Irish appetizer and party food recipes you might find helpful if you're planning a celebration or get-together.