Introduction: Shrimp Dip

About: I helped start Instructables, previously worked in biotech and academic research labs, and have a degree in biology from MIT. Currently head of Product helping young startups at Alchemist Accelerator, previous…

Shrimp dip is a simple, versatile appetizer that can easily be made into elegant single-serving hors d'oeuvres perfect for a fancy cocktail party or formal wedding reception.

Step 1: Tools and Ingredients

1 can shrimp, drained
4 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 lemon wedge, juiced
zest from ~1/4 lemon
2 plum tomatoes (or other firm-fleshed tomato.  Mine came from Wild Boar Farms.)
2 lemon cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
handful fresh herb of your choice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)

Optional additions:
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise or sour cream (for a thinner dip)

cutting board
bowl and fork for mixing (optional: food processor)
small spoon

Step 2: Combine Dip Ingredients

- Drain the can of shrimp, and mash into the cream cheese.
- Add Worchestershire sauce, garlic lemon juice and zest, pepper, and salt. 
- Mix, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Add chopped herbs if you like, and mix again.

Step 3: Prepare Base

To serve your shrimp dip as single-serving hors d'ouevres, you need a nice base with a bit of crunch.  I find crackers boring, so went with lemon cucumber and tomato for clean-handling yet healthy finger-food.  You could use a cracker alone, or layered with cucumber, tomato, radish, or any other veggie you like.

Slice cucumbers and tomatoes, and arrange as shown below.  Tomato slices should be slightly smaller than the base cucumber slices. 

Be sure to use a very sharp knife, as a clean cut will make this much easier.

Step 4: Add Dip

Scoop dip onto your base.  (Yes, I'm using a baby spoon - it's exactly the right size.)

For best results, leave a nice ring of tomato visible around the edge of the dip ball.

Step 5: Garnish

Pick some nice, perky tips of the herb you previously added to your dip, and pop them into the top of the dip balls.  I found the dill too soft to press into the dip, so made a furrow with the knife then pressed the dip back into place around the dill sprig.

Add a caper for extra garnish bonus points.  A bit of anchovy, preserved lemon, or roasted pepper could also work well.

Step 6: Serve

Chill until ready to serve, and as with any seafood take care that your food doesn't sit at room temperature too long. Set your serving tray on crushed ice inside another container if it's going to be a long party. 

Eat, and enjoy the party!  Your mastery of elegant finger foods has successfully convinced your friends and family that they're attending a classy event.  Go you.

Of course, you can also serve this dip in a cheese-ball shape (same thickness) or a bowl (softer), with crackers and veggies.  But it's less classy.

As always, I'd love to know if you've tried this recipe! Pictures of your versions are double-plus-good.