Caprese Skewers (Williams-Sonoma Small Plates)

Fresh mozzarella balls, 12, halved
Cherry tomatoes, 12, halved lengthwise
Fresh basil leaves, 12 large, torn in half
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Assemble the skewers - Thread 1 tomato half, 1 mozzarella ball half, and 1 basil leaf half on a wooden toothpick. Repeat to make the remaining skewers. Arrange on a platter and drizzle with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and serve. (The skewers may be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours; serve chilled or at room temperature.)
Makes about 24 skewers.

Crab Salad with Endive (Williams-Sonoma Small Plates)

Fennel bulb, , trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and finely chopped
Fresh lump crabmeat, lb (250 g), picked over for shell fragments
Shallot, 1, finely chopped
Fresh chives, 1 Tbsp. finely snipped, plus more for garnish
Fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, 1 Tbsp. finely chopped
Mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp.
Creme fraiche or sour cream, 1 Tbsp.
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt and ground white pepper
Belgian endive (chicory/witloof), 6 large heads

Pepare the crab salad - In a bowl, stir together the fennel, crabmeat, shallot, 1 Tbsp. chives, parsley, mayonnaise, creme fraiche, lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
Assemble the salad - Trim the root ends from the endive heads and separate into spears. Arrange 24 of the largest spears on a platter. Spoon a generous amount of crab salad onto the wide end of each spear, garnish with the remaining chives, and serve.
Makes 24 pieces.

Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters with chopped spinach, onion, garlic, parmesan and feta cheese with a hint of Pernod.

Polenta with Eggplant Pesto (Williams-Sonoma Small Plates)

Eggplant, 1 large (about 1 1/4 lb/625 g), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
Olive oil, 2 Tbsp., plus 1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80 ml)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Garlic, 2 cloves, finely chopped
Pine nuts, 2 Tbsp.
Fresh basil leaves, 1 cup (1 oz/30 g)
Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) grated
Canola oil, 2 Tbsp.
Precooked polenta, 2 tubes (about 17 oz/530 g each), ends trimmed and cut into 20 slices total

Make the eggplant pesto - Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Toss the eggplant with the 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Season generously with salt. Place in a baking pan skin side down and bake until soft and tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly. In a food processor or blender, combine the eggplant, garlic, pine nuts, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Pulse until smooth. Add the basil and 1/3 cup olive oil, and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides of the container. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the cheese.
Cook the polenta - Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels. While the eggplant is baking, in a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the canola oil. Season the polenta slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Add 10 slices to the pan and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the baking sheet and cook the remaining polenta slices. Arrange the slices on a platter, top with a generous spoonful of the eggplant pesto, sprinkle with pepper, and serve.
Makes 20 rounds.

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon (Williams-Sonoma Small Plates)

Small baking potatoes, 1 1/4 lb (625 g), peeled
Flour, cup (2 oz/75 g)
Yellow onion, small, grated
Salt and ground white pepper
Egg, 1, lightly beaten
Olive oil, 1 Tbsp.
Unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp., melted
Creme fraiche or sour cream, 1 cup (8 oz/250 g)
Smoked salmon, 6 oz (185 g), cut into slivers
Fresh chives, 1 Tbsp. finely snipped

Form the pancakes - Bring a pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Using the largest holes of a box grater-shredder, grate the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the flour, onion, tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and combine well with a fork. Stir in the egg. With lightly floured hands, form the mixture into walnut-sized balls, rolling them between your palms, then flatten into patties.
Cook the pancakes - In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and butter. Place a large frying pan over medium heat and brush generously with the butter mixture. Working in batches, cook the pancakes until golden and crisp, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Top each pancake with a dollop of the creme fraiche and a few slivers of salmon. Arrange on a serving platter, sprinkle with the chives, and serve.
Makes about 24 pancakes.

Scallops with Mango & Avocado (Williams-Sonoma Small Plates)

Bay scallops or sea scallops, 1 1/4 lb (625 g), side muscles removed
Canola oil, 1-2 Tbsp.
Juice from 7 or 8 limes (1 1/4 cups/10 fl oz/310 ml)
Fresh cilantro, 1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Red pepper flakes, 3/4 tsp.
Hot sauce such as tabasco to taste
Mango, 1, peeled, pitted, and cut into small cubes
Avocado, 1, pitted, peeled, and cut into small cubes
Olive oil for drizzling

Cook the scallops - If using large sea scallops, cut the scallops in half horizontally. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbsp. of the canola oil until hot but not smoking. Working in batches so the pan is not crowded, sear the scallops on each side for 1-2 minutes, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer the seared scallops to a plate.
Marinate the scallops - In a glass or ceramic bowl, combine the lime juice, cilantro, 2 tsp. salt, pepper flakes, and hot sauce. Add the scallops and toss. Gently stir in the mango and avocado. Spoon into martini glasses. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Makes about 4 cups.

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

1 lb. fresh or frozen spinach
1 bunch fresh green onions
lb. feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, slightly beaten
tsp. dill weed
lb. melted butter
lb. filo pastry

Wash, drain, and chop spinach. Finely chop onions, using white part only. Put spinach and onions in a bowl. Add eggs, cheese, dill weed and salt, if needed. Mix well. Cutting one sheet of filo at a time, make strips 3 inches wide. Brush with melted butter. Place a heaping of spinach mixture at the bottom corner of each strip. Fold over to form a triangular shape. Continue folding (like a flag) to end of strip. Brush with butter. (At this point the triangles can be frozen and used as needed.)
Place triangles on a buttered cookie sheet. Brush tops with butter and bake in a preheated over at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Makes 3 dozen triangles.

Spring Rolls with Lime-Cilantro Sauce (Williams-Sonoma Small Plates)

Medium shrimp (prawns), 1 lb (500 g), about 24, peeled, deveined, and cooked
Green onions, 6, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro (fresh coriander), 3 Tbsp. chopped
Lime juice, cup (4 fl oz/125 ml)
Brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. packed
Asian fish sauce, 3 Tbsp.
Rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp.
Garlic, 1 clove, minced
Rice paper rounds, 12
Cucumber, 1, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
Dried vermicelli or rice stick noodles, 4 oz (125 g), soaked in hot water for 15 minutes and drained
Fresh basil leaves (optional)

Prepare the filling and sauce - In a bowl, stir together the shrimp, green onions, and 2 Tbsp. of the cilantro. In another bowl, whisk together the lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, vinegar, garlic, and remaining 1 Tbsp. cilantro until the sugar dissolves. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Assemble the rolls - Have ready a large, shallow bowl of warm water and a damp kitchen towel. Immerse each rice paper round in the water for 2 to 3 seconds. Spread it on the towel; it will become pliable within a few seconds. Divide the shrimp mixture horizontally near the bottom of the rice paper. Top with some of the cucumber slices, noodles, and a fresh basil leaf (optional). Lift the bottom edge of the rice paper over the filling, compacting it gently but firmly. Fold in the sides and roll the rice paper toward the top edge, again compacting gently. Using a sharp knife, cut each roll in half on the diagonal. Arrange on a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.
Makes 12 spring rolls.

Peanut-Lime Dipping Sauce (Brian and Lauren Brock)
cup crunchy peanut butter
cup unsweetened coconut milk
cup lime juice
cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon nuoc mam
1 clove garlic
1 shallot
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 bird's-eye chili
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
cup roasted peanuts, crushed

Combine ingredients and serve with spring rolls.

Walnut Crostini with Gorgonzola & Pear (Williams-Sonoma Small Plates)

Walnut bread, 7 slices
Gorgonzola cheeze, 7 oz. (220 g), at room temperature
Pear, 1, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Assemble the crostini - Cut each slice of bread in half crosswise. Spread the cheese evenly on each bread slice and top with two thin slices of pear. Transfer the crostini to a platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.
Makes about 14 crostini.