"Everyone loves bite-size appetizers at a party," says party planner Rafanelli. Serve these at your Super Bowl Sunday and trust us, even the most die-hard fans will have trouble concentrating on the game.
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Makes 16 bites
Chimichurri Sauce:2 c. stemmed fresh parsley, ideally Italian flat-leaf 5 T olive or vegetable oil 3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced 1 medium shallot, minced, or 2 T minced onion 2 T sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar 1 t. red pepper flakes 1/2 t. salt 1/2 t. pepper
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Gaucho Steak: 3 T salt 1 T cayenne pepper Two 1-lb. New York strip steaks, ideally 11/4 inches thick 1 sourdough baguette, sliced into 16 1/4-inch-thick slices
Place all chimichurri ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree, then set aside. Preheat grill to high heat. In a small bowl, mix salt and cayenne pepper, then rub the mixture onto both sides of the steaks. Place the steaks over direct heat, and grill to desired degree of doneness (approximately 6 minutes per side for mediumrare). Remove the steaks from the heat, cover them with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes. If you do not have a grill, eliminate the cayenne pepper from the dry rub and cook the steaks in a heavy pan over medium-high heat for approximately 6 minutes per side. To assemble, slice the steaks into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Set pieces on baguette slices, and top with chimichurri sauce.
Maple Salmon Suckers
Slice salmon into 1/4-inch strips. Put slices in a sealable plastic bag along with the maple syrup and soy sauce. Force out the air and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, but ideally for 24 hours. At the same time, soak the skewers in water. When you're ready to cook, preheat the grill over high heat (or turn on your broiler). Remove salmon from the marinade, skewer each slice at its widest point, and dip one edge of it in coarsely ground pepper. Grill the salmon on a well-oiled barbecue grate (or directly under a broiler) for 1 minute on each side, or until just cooked through but still moist.
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Preheat the oven to 350° F. Insert a bamboo skewer into the bottom of each date until the pointy tip rests on the bottom of the pit. Push the pit out of the stem side. Reserve dates. Using your sharpest knife, cut Parmigiano-Reggiano into 1/4-inch slices. Cut those slices into 1/4-inch-by-1-inch pieces (the resulting pieces should be 1 inch long with ends that are about the diameter of a pencil). Cut the tip of each piece at a 45-degree angle. Leading with the pointy end, stuff a stick of Parmigiano-Reggiano into the pit hole of each date. Wrap each date with a slice of bacon. Set dates on a baking sheet with the seam of the bacon facing down. Skewer each with a toothpick to hold bacon in place. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until bacon is crispy, then let cool for a few minutes before serving.
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