I confess: I have no plans to throw a party anytime soon. I just saw a recipe that paired canned pumpkin and shrimp in bruschetta form, and thought, “That is either going to be incredibly disgusting or incredibly delicious.” So of course I had to try it (albeit with serious alterations).
The original recipe called for raw onions, arugula tossed with Italian salad dressing, and canned pumpkin straight out of the can. First, I don’t like raw onions because I can’t digest them. Second, arugula tossed with Italian dressing sounded like it would overwhelm the pumpkin flavor. Third, canned pumpkin has a metallic flavor and aroma if you leave it unaltered — not to mention that it’s sort of tasteless. It needs a little oomph: I added garlic, sriracha, salt, and pepper to the pumpkin mixture and eliminated the lemon.
The recipe also called for pumpkin seeds, which I swapped for pistachios because that’s just what I had on hand. I also chose to cut my bread into triangle toasts because
I have to make things harder on myself it looked pretty. I would recommend using baguette slices instead, because they should be sturdier.
Verdict: rich and delicious with a slight zing from the sriracha. A perfect appetizer – 2-3 are satisfying. Make Thanksgiving more interesting this year!
This wasn’t a particularly expensive recipe to make, mostly because I shop at the Grocery Outlet (home of the canned pumpkin, frozen shrimp, and goat cheese). I recommend using frozen, pre-cooked, deveined and shelled shrimp to save time and money.
PUMPKIN SHRIMP CANAPÉS WITH SAGE, PISTACHIOS, AND SHALLOTS
Adapted heavily from Better Homes & Gardens; makes about 20 appetizers
- 1 baguette, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil or melted butter, divided
- 40 pre-cooked, deveined, shelled medium shrimp
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 oz goat cheese, room temperature
- 1 shallot, peeled and sliced into rings
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1-4 tsp Sriracha (to taste)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 10-12 leaves sage, chiffonade-d
- 1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped (I use an old hand-crank coffee grinder to chop nuts, similar to this.)
Do ahead: You can saute the shallots, toast the baguette slices, and make the pumpkin mixture ahead of time. Bring pumpkin mixture to room temperature before assembling.
- Preheat oven to 350. Place baguette slices on a cookie sheet and brush the tops with 2 tbsp olive oil or melted butter. Bake for 5-10 minutes until lightly toasted. (Check on it periodically. You want the bread to be crisp on top but not hard as a rock. No one wants to eat rocks, even tasty rocks.)
- In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil or butter over medium heat. Saute the shallot rings until soft and slightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Drain and set aside for later.
- In the same skillet, without pouring off the remaining oil, saute the minced garlic until softened and aromatic, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add canned pumpkin and cook, stirring with a spatula, over medium heat until the pumpkin is also aromatic and loses its metallic quality (as always, taste test!), 3-5 minutes. Remove from skillet and allow to cool slightly.
- Combine honey, canned pumpkin and garlic, and goat cheese with the pumpkin until smooth. Add 1 tsp Sriracha, adding more until the flavor is what you desire. (The cool shrimp will offset some of the spice.) Add salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste. Set aside (or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)
- Meanwhile, chiffonade the sage leaves and chop the pistachios.
- To assemble: spread each baguette slice with about a spoonful of the pumpkin mixture. Arrange two shrimp atop the pumpkin and drape with a shallot ring or two. Garnish with sage leaves and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Serve! Demand applause!