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Appetizers Are Always the Star, Even on Super Bowl Sunday

by Kara Kimbrough


Whether you’re a Tampa Bay or Kansas City fan, Super Bowl LV offers an excuse to throw a party or at the very least, indulge in tailgate food. Team loyalties aside, we can agree on one thing: appetizers score the highest points at tailgate parties, including the biggest one of the year.

Nachos, loaded potato skins, bacon wrapped Little Smokies, mini pigs in blankets, wings, meatballs, cheese balls and hundreds of dip possibilities ranging from guacamole to queso to baked crabmeat are the real stars of any Super Bowl spread.

Super Bowl appetizers brought to mind favorite starters from the state's restaurants. With input from foodie friends, here are a few in a field of hundreds:

1. Onion rings - Rooster’s, Jackson (pictured right)

2. Guacamole - Babalu, Jackson

3. Crabmeat wontons – Crescent City Grill, Hattiesburg

4. Crab cakes and fried pickles - Shaggy’s, Gulf Coast and Reservoir

5. Shrimp Mayflower remoulade – Mayflower Café, Jackson

6. Brisket nachos - Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Hattiesburg

7. Bang Bang Shrimp – Bonefish Grill, Madison

8. Steak bites and barbecue shrimp with French bread – The Loft, Laurel

9. Loaded fries – Taranto’s, Biloxi

10. Joe’s artichoke dip - Mario’s Italian, Hattiesburg

11. Gumbo – Mary Mahoney’s in Biloxi

12. Fried green tomatoes – Georgia Blue, Madison and Hattiesburg

13. Dandy pimento cheese and crackers – Fine and Dandy, Jackson

14. Comeback or voodoo shrimp – Half Shell Oyster House, Jackson area, Hattiesburg, Gulf Coast


Back to the Super Bowl, here a few tips for a safer, socially-distanced gathering:

  • Reduce lingering over the food by placing a chalkboard menu in a prominent place so guests know what’s on each table. Label each dish with place cards or food picks from the party store.

  • Set up separate food bars (chili, tacos, desserts, etc) indoors and outside. It's fun for guests and eliminates crowding in one area.

  • Need a no-fork, single-serve appetizer? Fold a piece of salami in half, tuck olive and cheese cube in the middle, fold and skewer the bundle length-wise with a party-style toothpick.

  • Add garbage bags to tall laundry hampers, then stuff holes with colorful tissue paper from the dollar store in team colors. Space around the party area to avoid overcrowding at the garbage can.

Last, here's one thing on which we can agree: the Super Bowl isn’t complete without at least one unique and delicious cheese ball. So, enjoy this cheese ball that conjures up a bit of New York City without leaving Mississippi.


NYC Deli-Style Bagel Cheese Ball

Ingredients:

- 1 (8-ounce) softened cream cheese

- 1/2 cup sour cream

- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

- 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped

- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

- 1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)

- 6 slices cooked and finely chopped bacon (can use bacon bits if time is short)

- Topping: small amounts of poppy seeds, black sesame seeds, dried minced garlic, dried onion flakes, sea salt

- Bagel chips or crackers for serving


Mix together cream cheese, sour cream, horseradish, cheddar cheese, green onions, garlic powder and bacon. Form the mixture into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for an hour. Mix together topping ingredients.

Once the cheeseball has set, roll it into a blend of the topping (or other favorite seasonings) to evenly coat.


Serve with bagel chips and crackers.


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