Champagne: Not Just for Drinking

Champagne: Not Just for Drinking

With the holidays in full swing and everyone getting into holiday party mode, it's no doubt the lists for food and drinks to serve are growing rapidly. Champagne is one of those tried and true drinks, especially popular for toasting at the start of the new year. And while adding ingredients to this bubbly beverage can turn it various champagne cocktails, it may also be used in food recipes perfect for entertaining. Thanks to websites like epicurious.com (one of my favorite websites for recipes) you can find more uses for bubbly than just drinking. This tasty shrimp appetizer is surprisingly easy to make, delicious and beautiful when plated.

Marinated Shrimp with Champagne Beurre Blanc

Sauce Base:

2 cups Champagne, 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots, 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or other white wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns.

Shrimp:

1 cup Champagne, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons minced shallots, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 24 extra-large uncooked shrimp (about 2 pounds), peeled with tail left intact and deveined, 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives, 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon and 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley. Also needed are a nonstick cooking spray and 2 sticks of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 16 pieces.

Preparation for Sauce:

Combine Champagne, shallots, vinegar, and peppercorns in heavy medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup liquid, about 20 minutes.

Preparation for Shrimp:

Combine Champagne, olive oil, shallots, and ground pepper in resealable plastic bag. Add shrimp to bag and seal; shake bag to coat shrimp evenly. Marinate shrimp at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, turning bag occasionally. Mix chives, tarragon, and parsley in small bowl. Preheat broiler. Spray broiler pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Drain shrimp; discard plastic bag with marinade. Arrange shrimp on prepared pan in single layer. Broil shrimp until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Stand 3 shrimp, tails upright, in center of each plate. Rewarm sauce base over medium-low heat. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time allowing each to melt before adding the next (do not boil or sauce will separate). Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper then spoon around shrimp. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve.

 

Looking for something easy and more for passing around and getting the party started? How about those old reliable jello shots! Great for parties, easy to make and because the champagne is in the jello there's no need for all those glasses. Nice at the end of the night while doing dishes.

Jello Shots:

1 package jello (whichever flavor you prefer), 1 cup boiling water and 1 cup chilled champagne.

In a large bowl add jello powder to boiling water and stir until dissolved. After allowing to cool to room temperature, slowly add chilled champagne and stir. Pour into an ice cube tray and refridgerate until set. To remove the jello from the tray, dip trays in hot water for 5 seconds, running a knife around the shot to loosen. Place shots in a large serving bowl and serve with tongs.

Anyone else have any fun recipes that use champagne? Feel free to leave them in the comments, as I'm sure we'll need some uses for all the leftover bubbly form the holidays...Not that we wouldn't be just as happy to drink it, I'm sure.