In all matters of hospitality, my mother-in-law is the reigning queen. She sets the bar incredibly high when it comes to everything, from the seriously clever way she arranges flower buds in vines to whipping up gourmet meals for every single function like she's Martha Stewart. While I try to steal all of her brilliant ideas and hacks when it is my turn to throw a soireé, one of her trademark recipes has become my ultimate go-to.
My MIL’s shrimp toast is, without a doubt, the biggest crowd-pleasing appetizer I have ever experienced. I use the word experience, because it isn’t just the divine, culinary experience that these little slices of creamy, garlicky shrimp deliciousness offer, but the overall frenzy that occurs when she hands them out at parties.
Here is the backstory: My husband’s mother first nibbled on a shrimp toast at a bridal shower about 25 years ago. She wasn’t really wild about them, as she isn’t into the bottom-dwelling crustaceans in general, but she noticed that everyone else was. So of course, she had to ask for the recipe.
Like most superior culinary artists, she modified the original recipe to make it even better. “The original recipe called for French bread cut into thin slices, so the rounds were much larger,” she explains. She opted to use a thin baguette instead so the rounds are small enough for appetizers. Insert MIL's entertaining wisdom: “I think all hors d’oeuvres are best when they’re two bites or less.”
The recipe also called for a small can of shrimp—“I think 6-7 oz,” she specifies. Is it just me, or does the sound of canned shrimp sort of make you gag? She decided to use fresh salad shrimp instead, because the fresher the better, right? Sometimes you can’t find fresh salad shrimp at the store, so in that case, check the freezer section. In the past, she has also substituted crab for the shrimp and, while she was told they were very good, the consensus is shrimp is best. As one guest said, “Why mess with something when it’s already so good?”
Her last modification to the recipe was adding garlic to it, because garlic makes almost every creamy, savory dish even more heavenly.
You can make huge batches of the shrimp toast and freeze it. Just pop a tray in the oven right before serving.
The best part about this recipe is that is shockingly easy and quick to whip up. Also, you can make huge batches of the shrimp toast and freeze it. My MIL usually keeps a tray or two on hand for last minute entertaining situations. All you have to do is pop it in the oven right before serving time.
As soon as the toasts are passed out at a party, a chorus of “Mmmm” and “Wow! Who made these?” and “These are delicious!” immediately fill the room. People return for seconds, thirds, and even fourths. They disappear so quickly from the serving tray, that they rarely, if ever, even make it to the table. Then, about a million people ask you for the recipe, which is the only real con to making them..
Stephanie Groth’s Famous Shrimp Toast
- Skinny baguette
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup real mayonnaise (like Hellmann’s)
- 1/2 pound fresh (or frozen) salad shrimp
- 1/4 cup onion, very finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Dill weed to taste
- 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Mix all wet and dry ingredients and keep refrigerated while preparing bread.
- Slice baguette into 1/4” rounds. Lightly butter bottoms.
- Spread shrimp mixture on top.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 min or until bottoms are lightly browned.
- If desired, sprinkle a little extra Parmesan and dill weed on top.
Note: Unbaked shrimp toasts may be frozen until ready to use. Just put the frozen shrimp toasts on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven. They may take longer to bake when frozen.