Spring Seafood Dinner Party Menu and Recipes

Come Party With Me: Postparade BBQ — Menu

Every year I attend the Butter and Eggs Day parade in my hometown. Since 2006, I've hosted a brunch before the parade. However, this April I'm doing something different and will invite everyone over for a big seafood barbecue after the parade. We'll start with grilled garlic shrimp and flatbreads with caramelized onions, sausage, and manchego cheese. The stars of the show are oysters and sardines.

We'll enjoy the oysters both raw and cooked (with chanterelle mushrooms and parmesan), while the sardines will get charred on the grill. On the side? A huge bowl of Spring pasta salad with escarole, radishes, and peas. Want to see these recipes? Please


Grilled Flatbreads with Caramelized Onions, Sausage, and Manchego Cheese

Grilled Flatbreads with Caramelized Onions, Sausage, and Manchego Cheese


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large red onions (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), halved, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine (such as Zinfandel)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausages (about 4 links), casings removed
Pizza Dough Rounds or 1 pound purchased fresh pizza dough
Nonstick olive oil spray
2 cups (packed) coarsely shredded Manchego cheese, divided


  1. Heat vegetable oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and deep golden brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Stir in wine, vinegar, and sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl. Cool.
  2. Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add sausage; sauté until cooked through and browned, breaking up with back of fork, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Cool. DO AHEAD: Onions and sausage can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
  3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Lightly flour 2 rimless baking sheets. Divide purchased pizza dough in half (if using). Working with 1 dough round or dough half at a time, roll out on lightly floured surface to 12x8-inch oval. Transfer to baking sheets. Spray top of flatbreads with nonstick spray.
  4. Invert flatbreads, sprayed side down, onto grill. Cook until grill marks appear and sides of bread are dry, 3 to 5 minutes. Return to same baking sheets, grilled side down. Spray uncooked side with nonstick spray.
  5. Turn flatbreads over on baking sheets, grilled side up. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese over each flatbread. Sprinkle onions, then sausage, over flatbreads, dividing equally. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over, dividing equally. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
  6. Transfer flatbreads, topping side up, to grill. Cover and cook until crusts are crisp and cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to work surface. Cut into rectangles and serve.

Makes 12 appetizer servings.

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Chanterelle and Parmesan Oysters

Chanterelle and Parmesan Oysters


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
6 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, rinsed, drained, patted dry, and cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
Freshly ground black pepper
1 dozen extra-small (2 to 3 inches long) Pacific oysters, shucked and drained, bottom shells reserved
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Preheat broiler. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chanterelles and lemon juice and cook, until the chanterelles release their liquid, about 1 minute. Stir in parsley and creme fraiche. Season with pepper.
  2. Scrub reserved oyster shells and dry. Place an oyster in each shell and spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the chanterelle mixture onto each oyster. Sprinkle with cheese. Place oysters in a heatproof dish and broil about 6 inches from heat source until bubbly, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 3.

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Fresh Sardines on Grilled Bread

Fresh Sardines on Grilled Bread


4 3/4-inch-thick slices bread, from a large country loaf
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon table salt
16 large sardines, cleaned (about 2 pounds in all)
1 tablespoon coarse salt


  1. Light the grill or heat the broiler. Using 4 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, brush both sides of each slice of bread. Sprinkle both sides with the table salt. Grill or broil the bread, turning once, until crisp and golden on the surface but still soft inside, about 4 minutes in all.
  2. Rub the sardines all over with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Grill or broil the sardines for 4 minutes. Turn and cook until golden brown and just done, about 3 minutes. To serve, top each piece of grilled bread with 4 sardines.

Serves 4.

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Spring Pasta Salad with Escarole, Radishes and Peas

Spring Pasta Salad with Escarole, Radishes and Peas


3/4 cup sour cream
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped dill
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound dried whole wheat penne pasta
3 cups spring pea pods or sugar snap peas, cut in half crosswise
1 head escarole, torn into bite-size pieces
1 bunch spring radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 green onions


  1. Put sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, chives, dill and parsley into a small bowl and whisk together to make a dressing. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to directions on package.
  3. When pasta is almost ready to be drained, quickly drop the pea pods into the water with the pasta, stir once and then drain everything together into a colander.
  4. Once drained, transfer the hot pasta and peas to a large bowl. Add escarole, radishes, green onions and reserved dressing and toss well. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

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