New Year's Eve parties call for substantial, well-seasoned snacks that you can eat standing up while enjoying a glass of sparkling wine. Spanish pintxos (pronounced "PIN-chos")—two-bite hors d'oeuvres typically served by the piece, on toothpicks, accompanied by drinks in a casual social setting—fit the bill perfectly.
Chef Jonah Miller prepares Basque-inspired pintxos, tapas and more at Huertas, in Manhattan's East Village. Miller has been cooking professionally since the age of 14, when he began as a stagiere at Chanterelle. He went on to cook at Gramercy Tavern and Savoy, helped to open Danny Meyer's Maialino, then immersed himself in the culinary culture of northern Spain before returning to open Huertas about a year ago. There's vermouth on tap and Spanish cider, but for the seafood pintxos recipes he's shared below, Miller reaches for cava.
"Seafood is certainly a safe bet with cava, but these pintxos in particular are rich, which makes them not just festive bites, but well-suited for sparkling wine, which will cut through that richness and provide balance," says Miller, who suggests rounding out your party offerings with jamón, manchego cheese and membrillo (quince paste). It's a Spanish tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's Eve; at Huertas, Miller plans to serve wood-roasted grapes with crema catalana to his guests. For some guidance on what to pour for your guests, see the list of recently rated sparkling wines below.
Shrimp and Egg Toasts
Recipes courtesy of Jonah Miller, chef and owner of Huertas restaurant, New York
- 6 eggs
- 3 tablespoons peeled and finely diced celery
- 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt, pepper and espelette (or other finely ground chile pepper) to taste
- 8 ruby red shrimp (or other variety, around 20 count per pound), shelled and deveined
- 16 slices of baguette
- Maldon salt, for garnish (optional)
For the egg salad:
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the eggs, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes. Remove the eggs and place in ice water. When completely cool (about 10 minutes), peel the eggs. (This step can be done up to a day ahead of time).
2. Chop the eggs into a rough dice. Combine the egg, celery, onion, chive, mayonnaise, half the lemon juice and half the olive oil in a bowl and gently stir together. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a hint of espelette. Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the toasts.
For the shrimp:
1. Bring a small pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Set up an ice water bath nearby. Add the shrimp and remove from the heat. Gently stir the shrimp for 15 seconds (to prevent them from sticking to one another), then allow them to poach in the hot water for 30 more seconds before removing and shocking the shrimp in the ice water.
2. Once the shrimp have cooled, remove from ice water and pat dry. Cut each shrimp in half lengthwise and dress with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Lightly toast the bread in a toaster or under the broiler. Top each slice with egg salad and a piece of shrimp. To finish, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on each toast, garnish with Maldon salt and a touch more espelette if desired. Makes 16 toasts.
Radishes With Sardine Butter
- 8 large or 16 small, mixed variety radishes
- 4 large canned sardine fillets (Ortiz brand recommended), about 4 ounces
- 4 tablespoons butter, tempered
- Finely grated zest of 1/4 lemon
- 16 parsley leaves
- Maldon salt, for garnish (optional)
For the sardine butter:
In a food processor or blender, process the sardines and butter with the lemon zest until homogenous.
For the radishes:
Clean the radishes; if the greens are nice, keep them attached. If using large radishes, cut in half lengthwise. Cut a small slice of one of the round sides of the radish so that it can sit upright. If using small radishes, do the same, without cutting in half first.
To finish and serve:
Spread about a teaspoon of the sardine butter on each radish and top with a parsley leaf. Garnish with Maldon salt if desired. Makes 16 pintxos.
RECOMMENDED CHAMPAGNES AND SPARKLING WINES
Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases. More wines can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.
DUVAL-LEROY Brut Champagne NV Score: 91 | $48
A fresh, finely knit version that meshes a silky mousse and delicate acidity with a subtle flavor range, including rich hints of toasted brioche, blackberry, spun honey, lemon zest and smoked almond. A fine aperitif in terms of weight and balance, but in a slightly richer style. Drink now through 2020. 40,000 cases made. —A.N.
MUMM NAPA Brut Napa Valley Prestige NV Score: 91 | $22
Packs in a lot of complexity, with aromas of apple, fresh ginger and rubber that lead to crisp and layered flavors of raspberry and spice. Drink now. 173,000 cases made. —T.F.
GLORIA FERRER Brut Sonoma County Sonoma NV Score: 90 | $22
A festive sparkler, featuring bright aromas of raspberry and baked apple, with balanced, zesty pear, cinnamon and yeast flavors. Drink now. 74,000 cases made. —T.F.
LAURENT-PERRIER Brut Champagne NV Score: 90 | $40
Balanced and fresh, with an airy mousse carrying flavors of crunchy pear, piecrust, apricot and ground ginger, all underscored by a hint of smoky mineral. Drink now through 2017. 20,000 cases imported. —A.N.
ROEDERER ESTATE Brut Anderson Valley NV Score: 90 | $24
Floral raspberry and apple pie aromas lead to crisp, focused lemon, anise and spicy raspberry flavors that finish on a fresh mineral note. Drink now. 80,000 cases made. —T.F.
MONTAUDON Brut Champagne NV Score: 89 | $35
Firm and smoky, with a creamy palate of subtle poached pear, whole-grain toast, currant and lemon preserves. Drink now. 60,000 cases made. —A.N.
GREMILLET Brut Champagne Séléction NV Score: 88 | $37
Light-bodied, with a lively bead and a floral overtone to the hints of melon, blanched almond, ginger biscuit and citrus. Features a zesty finish of moderate length. Drink now through 2017. 25,000 cases made. —A.N.
SCHARFFENBERGER Brut Mendocino County Excellence NV Score: 88 | $20
Soft and fresh, with easygoing flavors of creamy lemon, spice and fresh yeast rolls. Drink now. 35,600 cases made. —T.F.
SCHRAMSBERG Brut Rosé California Mirabelle NV Score: 88 | $28
Focused and refreshingly dry, with floral raspberry aromas and crisp strawberry and spiced red apple flavors. Drink now. 11,298 cases made. —T.F.
BELLENDA Extra Dry Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Miraval 2013 Score: 87 | $19
This is focused by a creamy bead and a bright streak of acidity, with mineral-tinged flavors of poached quince, melon, lemon zest and fresh ginger. Drink now through 2017. 15,000 cases made. —A.N.
MIONETTO Extra Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore NV Score: 87 | $19
Bright and juicy, this creamy Prosecco mixes ripe green melon and white peach fruit with flavors of almond skin, candied lemon zest and honey. Drink now. 38,000 cases made. —A.N.
SADEVE Brut Rosé Cava Naveran 2012 Score: 87 | $16
Quite elegant, with a fine, creamy mousse and bright, well-knit acidity framing hints of bergamot, star anise, dried strawberry, stone and citrus peel. Subtle finish. Drink now. 10,000 cases made. —A.N.
PERE VENTURA Brut Cava Cupatge d'Honor 2011 Score: 87 | $29
A delicate Cava, with a refined bead and subtle flavors of melon, smoke, candied almond and kumquat. Lemony acidity keeps this lively throughout. Drink now. 58,333 cases made. —A.N.