To my mind New Years Eve appetizers have one role: to be delicious while being nibbled alongside champagne. These recipes are easy to make, use seasonal ingredients, and are fabulous with a flute or coupe of champagne or one of these New Years Eve Cocktails.
1. Baked Clams
The bit of garlicky bread crumb topping on these is endlessly flexible - use shallots instead of garlic, add more herbs, use crumbs or any sort. However you mix it up, the basic idea here turns fresh clams into irresistible snacks.
3. Cheese Puffs
These cheese puffs – known in French as gougères – are easy enough to make, beloved by all who eat them, and can be made ahead of time, frozen, and reheated gently in the oven to no ill affect.
Oysters and champagne are a classic combination for a reason - the brine and richness of oysters are wonderfully tempered by the delicate bubbles of good champagne. The cold waters of winter make it a great time to indulge in fresh oysters. Spritz freshly shucked oysters with lemon or serve with mignonette sauce (add minced shallots to a few tablespoons of good quality champagne vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste) or Tabasco.
Most types of shellfish are at their best when pulled from cold water, so winter is a perfect time to cook up bivalves like mussels. Most people have eaten mussels one way: steamed. Try them pan-roasted for a more intense flavor and a less messy presentation that allows you to serve them as appetizers or even passed hors d'oœvres.
Toss cauliflower florets in a warmly spiced butter mixture, roast them up, and serve with toothpicks for a surprisingly elegant appetizer. The bit of butter in the spice mixture makes these flavorful treats a good match for bubbly.
Peanuts may not sound special enough for New Year's Eve, but these really are. The popped mustard seeds give them a light smokey flavor perfect with champagne.