Kentucky Derby Appetizer Ideas
Hush Puppies with Green Zebra Tomato Jam
At Trummer's on Main in Clifton, Virginia, Clayton Miller makes a highly seasoned, Indian-inflected tomato jam with ginger, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne. It's a terrific accompaniment to his hush puppies--cheekily nicknamed "shut-your-piehole puppies" by the cooks in his kitchen.
Three-Cheese Mini Macs
Anything big made small is ultrafun for cocktail parties, and these quick, one-bite mac and cheeses are the ultimate example. Cooked in mini muffin pans, the mini macs can be assembled early and baked just as guests arrive.
Curried-Egg Tea Sandwiches
Cookbook author Martha Hall Foose says that in the early 1960s, The Time Life Picture Cook Book inspired Mississippi ladies to “go exotic” by adding ingredients like curry powder and orange zest to egg-salad tea sandwiches.
"I can't have a party without deviled eggs," says Katie Lee, whose cooking often reflects her Southern roots (she was born in West Virginia). Here, she deconstructs the retro hors d'oeuvre, blending hard-boiled eggs with mustard and mayonnaise so it's more like an egg salad that she can spread on toasts. "Simplicity is key," she says. "To me, it's more about tasting the egg than anything else."
Hogs in a Blanket
This fun, high-brow take on pigs in a blanket swaps spicy andouille sausage for the hot dogs, with sweet mustard chutney as a condiment.
White-Bean and Prosciutto Bruschetta
Strips of prosciutto top each toast and are topped in turn with a mound of creamy white beans and sprinkling of crisp red onion. If you like, serve these with the Bruschetta Duet to make a tantalizing trio.
Deviled Eggs With Country Ham
Chef Ford Fry uses European techniques and flavors at the neighborhood bistro JCT. His deviled eggs get their terrific flavor from goat cheese, Dijon mustard and cornichons, plus a topping of country ham from Benton's in Madisonville, Tennessee.
Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits
Chef Lance Gummere makes these incredible biscuits with just a little bit of cheddar cheese to give them a savory flavor.
Pimento Cheese with Salt-and-Pepper Butter Crackers
TV chef Carla Hall makes her own crunchy crackers to serve with her cheese spread, a riff on a Southern classic.
Kevin Gillespie often serves this simple bean salad over thinly sliced tomatoes. "They act like a plate underneath," he says.
Justin Devillier upgrades classic Southern cheese straws with Sharifi's Iranian spices at his New Orleans restaurant La Petite Grocery. He sometimes swaps out the cardamom for equal amounts of ground coriander or fennel seed. "I've always assumed cheese straws originated in the Carolinas," says Devillier, "but that may be because my mother-in-law always brings them when she visits from South Carolina."