I'm calling this one a spread because it can be served in many different ways. I've served it in phyllo cups, spread on sliced bread as canapes, but you can even serve it as a dip alongside some crackers or toasted baguette slices. A delicious appetizer idea in time for any New Years Eve plans you may have! Enjoy, and Happy New Year friends!
Cheesy Seafood & Herb Appetizer Spread
Makes approximately 8 cups of spread
1 package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 oz shredded cheese of choice (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tails removed
16 oz imitation crab, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup finely chopped each of green onion, dill and parsley
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1) Sprinkle all the cleaned shrimp with salt and pepper on both sides. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of butter. Working in batches (to prevent steaming), sear shrimp for no more than 1 minute on each side, or until pink (time will depend on size of shrimp; shrimp will be rubbery if overcooked). Add 2 more tablespoons of butter with each batch. Do not wash skillet. When you've cooked all the shrimp, finely chop the shrimp pieces and throw them, along with the juice of 1 lemon, back into the skillet. Mix with the leftover butter that was in the skillet (we don't want to waste any of that flavor!)
2) Add chopped shrimp, chopped imitation crab, shredded cheese, green onion, dill and parsley to a large bowl and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together softened cream cheese, mayonnaise and minced garlic until airy and well combined.
3) Mix the cream cheese mixture into shrimp mixture and mix until everything is evenly coated. Taste for salt and pepper, add as needed (depending on how much salt and pepper you used with the shrimp, you may not need any more).
4) For serving, add into phyllo cups, on sliced bread as canapes, or even as a dip with crackers, as preferred. Bake the phyllo cups or canapes in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes to melt the cheese. To serve as a dip, place spread into oven proof dish and bake for in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh dill, if desired. Enjoy.