When it comes to entertaining, especially last-minute entertaining, it’s helpful to have a few tricks up your sleeve. One of our favorites is transforming pantry staples into elevated appetizers. The pantry hero we’re celebrating today is the cracker.
More than just a crunchy snack or a partner for cheese, crackers are the perfect canvas for a wide variety of toppings. Keep a box or two on hand and try our innovative combinations the next time company is coming. These four toppings come together in just a few minutes and transform crackers into company-worthy bites.
PRO TIP: Keep gluten-free crackers like Blue Diamond Artisan Nut-Thins on hand and use them to make appetizers for all your guests, whether they are gluten-free or not.
1. Definite Crowd-Pleaser: Crunchy Avocado Bites
Go beyond the usual toast, pair avocado with crackers for a crowd-pleasing appetizer. Contrast avocado’s silky texture with crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds and add a pop of color and flavor with juicy jewel-like pomegranate seeds. A final touch: top with flaky sea salt and drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
PRO TIP: Swap out the pumpkin seeds for other seeds or chopped toasted nuts. Add a sprinkling of a spice such as sumac or chile flakes.
2. So Sophisticated: Ricotta & Truffle Topper
If you adore truffles, try this clever cracker topper: Spread a cracker with creamy ricotta cheese and then top with chopped truffle-flavored nuts like Blue Diamond Crafted Gourmet Almonds. Top with drizzle of honey and cracked black pepper.
PRO TIP: Experiment with other flavored nuts for the ricotta; we haven’t found one that didn’t pair well in this cracker combo.
3. When Shrimp Cocktail Meets Sushi: Shrimp & Nori Crackers
One of the most popular appetizers, that’s shrimp cocktail but you don’t usually think about it as a topper for crackers. This crunchy bite starts with stirring together mayonnaise and sriracha for an ever-so slightly spicy sauce. Add shrimp and nori to give this app a sushi-like touch. Chives or scallions are a nice finishing touch, both visually and flavor wise.
PRO TIP: Pick up cooked shrimp last minute or defrost them from the freezer. Alternatively top these crackers with flakes of cooked salmon or tuna.
4. Mix Savory & Sweet: Prosciutto & Jam Morsels
For a heartier bite, go sweet and savory by topping crackers with prosciutto, pepper jelly jam, and a peppery leaf of watercress.
PRO TIP: A little jam pairs well with most any charcuterie. Swap the prosciutto for thin slices of salami or mortadella. Use whatever jam you have on hand; our favorites include fig jam, sour cherry jam, and marmalade. Use a leafy herb, like parsley, or a small piece of lettuce in place of the watercress.
Watch how easy it is to make these delicious crackers: