Last-Minute Appetizers for Your Thanksgiving Table

Wow your relatives with these deceptively simple snacks.


Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving or attending the festive feast at a relative’s house this year, an array of appetizers for snacking throughout the day should be on the menu. Don’t open up a container of store-bought hummus or slice up a brick of cheese; tie on your apron and do your best to replicate these recipes courtesy of two local chefs—Hari Cameron of a(MUSE.) and grandpa (MAC) in Rehoboth Beach, and Vincenzo Carrieri-Russo of V&M Bistro in North Wilmington. Who knows, your mother-in-law may actually give you a compliment or two.

Poached shrimp cocktail


  • 2 pounds shell-on shrimp
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, rinsed and ends removed
  • 3 carrots, peeled and halved
  • ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ bunch thyme
  • ½ bunch rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of white wine
  • 2 lemons, halved and squeezed
  • 2 limes, halved and squeezed
  • 2 oranges, halved and squeezed
  • 5 garlic, cloves smashed
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • ½ tablespoon coriander
  • ½ tablespoon red chili flakes
  • ¼ whole clove
  • ¼ whole allspice


  1. Using a pairing knife or kitchen shears, cut from the head of the shrimp back down the length of shell just deep enough into the meat to remove the vein. Make sure to keep the tail shell attached for presentation.
  2. Add all ingredients, except the shrimp to a large stockpot. Bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Return to boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add shrimp. Cover pot and let shrimp cook for 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp.
  4. Drain and let shrimp cool under refrigeration.
  5. Peel shrimp, and serve with cranberry cocktail sauce (see recipe below) and lemon wedges. 


- Advertisement -

Cranberry cocktail sauce


  • 4 cups of fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco 
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 5 tablespoons of prepared horseradish  


  1. Put cranberries in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes until they start to pop.
  2. Add cranberries to a food processor and puree with sugar, ketchup, lemon juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco, salt and pepper.
  3. Puree until smooth then transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add horseradish and jalapeños to taste. Enjoy with poached shrimp or raw oysters.

—Recipes courtesy of chef Hari Cameron

Pumpkin bacon bruschetta

**WARNING** When cooking with oil and wine, you may get a flare up of fire. Keep a large lid nearby to cover the pan to douse the flame.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 1 pound cleaned pumpkin, cut into quarter-inch cubes (make sure pumpkin is dry)
  • 3 large slices of bacon
  • 6 slices of Italian Bread, quarter inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 ½ ounces of white wine (sweet)
  • 6 tablespoons of spiced honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large frying pan, cook bacon until crisp then remove from pan to cool. In the same frying pan, combine olive oil to the bacon oil and heat up to 275 degrees.
  2. Stir in pumpkin (dry) and cook 2-3 minutes on high heat or until oil is absorbed. Take frying pan off heat and add the wine and salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Put frying pan back on medium heat until wine evaporates. Pumpkin should be soft with golden edges. Turn off heat.
  4. Toast the bread then rub a garlic clove on one side of it.
  5. Top each bruschetta with a scoop of the pumpkin mix, followed by half a slice of bacon.
  6. Drizzle spiced honey all over. Garnish with basil.

—Recipe courtesy of chef Vincenzo Carrieri-Russo

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

Holiday flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.