5 healthier Super Bowl appetizer recipes, courtesy of local chefs

From wings to dip to fish tacos, there's something for every partier.

Roasted chicken wings with celery and Bottarga courtesy of Jody Adams.
Roasted chicken wings with celery and Bottarga, courtesy of Chef Jody Adams. –Ken Rivard

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Win over the football fans at your 2018 Super Bowl party with these healthier alternatives to the normally greasy, heavy game-day appetizers. Thanks to the five Boston-area chefs below, your guests can nosh on dishes full of vegetables, fish, beans, and chicken as the New England Patriots face off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

1. Spicy grilled chicken skewers with salsa verde
courtesy of Michael Schlow at Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar, Tico Boston, and Alta Strada

Spicy chicken skewers from Michael Schlow. —Michael Schlow

These chicken bites are perfect for popping into your mouth between plays.

Ingredients:

For the salsa verde (which can be made ahead of time):

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2 cups of parsley
1 cup of mint
1 cup of cilantro
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
1/2 jalapeno (optional, if you want it spicy)
1/2 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ice cube

For the skewers:

2-6 ounces of boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1 1/2-inch cubes
2 large pinches of kosher salt
1 large pinch of black pepper
1 tablespoon of Togarashi (if you can’t find it, substitute 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper)
2 ounces of extra virgin olive oil
Approximately 18-20 6-inch skewers

To make the salsa verde:

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, fully pureed, and incorporated. Reserve for plating.

To assemble the skewers:

Preheat the grill. (If you don’t have a grill or it’s too cold outside, you can use a hot cast iron pan.) Mix the chicken with the salt, pepper, Togarashi, and olive oil in a bowl. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for approximately two minutes on all sides until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the grill and skewer each bite-sized piece of chicken. Reserve for plating.

To plate:

Place a few generous spoonfuls of the salsa verde on the bottom of a plate, and place the skewered chicken on top. Sprinkle with a bit more Togarashi and serve.

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This recipe serves six to eight people. 

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2. Sun-dried tomatoes, white bean, and basil dip
courtesy of Daniel Bruce at Meritage Restaurant

Meritage Chef Daniel Bruce’s sun-dried tomatoes, white bean, and basil dip. —Daniel Bruce

“It’s excellent with either champagne or a still white wine,” wrote Bruce in an email. “Your house guests will never imagine that something so delicious is so easy to make, healthy and inexpensive.”

Ingredients:

1 cup of dried great northern white beans
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup of olive oil
½ cup of fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
Salt and pepper
Toasted pita chips or a toasted baguette, sliced, for serving

To assemble:

In a bowl, cover the beans with cold water and soak them for two hours. Then drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan with the chopped garlic, carrot, onion, and 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are very tender (about one hour), adding additional water if necessary to keep the mixture moist. Add the sun-dried tomatoes to the pot five minutes before you think the beans will be done. Drain the beans, reserving about 1/4 cup of the liquid.

Transfer the beans to a large bowl. Using a paddle or the back of a wooden spoon, begin crushing the beans against the side of the bowl until they begin to puree. Then beat in the olive oil and basil. (If you want a softer, smoother dip, add some or all of the reserved bean liquid.) Stir in the coriander and season with salt and pepper. Serve with toasted pita chips or slices of toasted baguette.

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This recipe serves eight people.

•••

3. Roasted chicken wings with celery and Bottarga
courtesy of Jody Adams at Porto, Trade, and Saloniki

Roasted chicken wings with celery and Bottarga courtesy of Chef Jody Adams. —Ken Rivard

These chicken wings even sound healthy — they’re tossed with radishes and celery.

Ingredients:

3 pounds of chicken wings, first and second joints only
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of garlic, grated on a microplane
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 large radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 an ounce of Bottarga (optional; a good alternative is grated pecorino cheese)

To assemble:

Season the chicken wings with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix the garlic, half the lemon juice, and the vegetable oil. Add the wings and toss to coat. Let macerate (soften by soaking in a liquid) for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lay the wings out on a rack on a sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes. After that, turn them and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Add a quarter inch of water to the bottom of the pan (this will make cleanup easier and prevent any drippings from burning).

While the wings are roasting, put the remaining lemon juice, the zest, and the honey in a clean, large bowl and mix. When the wings are done, transfer them to the bowl with the honey mixture and toss them to coat. Then put the wings back on the rack and roast them for another 10 minutes. After that, turn the heat to broil and cook until the wings start to brown, about two minutes. Turn the wings and broil the second side for another two minutes. Then dump the wings back into the bowl with any remaining marinade and toss once more.

Sprinkle half the celery and radishes onto a platter. Put the wings on top. Sprinkle the remaining vegetables over the wings and then grate the Bottarga or pecorino cheese over everything.

This recipe serves four to six people.

•••

4. Chipotle lime shrimp tacos
courtesy of Rich Vellante at Legal Sea Foods

Chipotle lime shrimp tacos from Rich Vellante at Legal Sea Foods. —Rich Vellante

Skip the mayonnaise to make these fish tacos lighter.

Ingredients:

3 pounds of shrimp (size 31/40)
2 limes, juiced
4 tablespoons of chipotle seasoning mix
4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
24 corn tortillas
3 cups of salsa verde (recipe below), or use a salsa of your choice
1 cup of chipotle mayonnaise (optional)
12 ounces of queso fresco
Fresh cilantro leaves
3 limes, cut in wedges (to squeeze on tacos before eating, as desired)

For the salsa verde:

2.5 pounds of tomatillos
2 jalapeno peppers
3 scallions
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons of cilantro, rough chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For the chipotle seasoning:

1 tablespoon of chipotle powder
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of kosher salt

For the chipotle mayonnaise:

1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 chipotle chilis from 1 can of chipotles in adobo
2 tablespoons of lime juice

To prepare the salsa verde:

Remove husk, core, and cut tomatillos in half. Place cut side up on sheet tray. Then toss the garlic and scallions with oil, salt, and pepper. Next, place the garlic and scallions mixture over the top of the tomatillos and roast in a 375-degree oven until the tomatillos are tender (approximately 20 minutes). Remove from oven. Chill. Char jalapenos. Remove the skin and seeds, then chill. Place all of the ingredients in a blender with the cilantro and lime juice. Blend it until smooth and season to taste.

To prepare the chipotle seasoning:

Mix all of the ingredients well.

To prepare the chipotle mayonnaise: 

Place mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, and chipotles in a blender. Puree until smooth.

To assemble the dish:

Brush the shrimp with vegetable oil and then season with chipotle seasoning. Grill or saute the shrimp, then drizzle with lime juice. Heat the tortillas either by wrapping them in foil and placing them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes and leaving them in the foil until they’re ready to use, or by heating up a cast iron pan and dipping each tortilla in water, then tossing them straight onto the hot pan (as the surface moisture evaporates, it will steam the tortillas and also brown in spots). Keep covered in foil until needed.

Build the taco as follows, bottom up: tortilla, salsa verde, shrimp, chipotle mayonnaise, queso fresco crumbled, cilantro leaves torn. Squeeze lime juice on top of each taco as desired.

This recipe makes 24 tacos. 

•••

5. Healthy maple-brined wings
courtesy of Dan Raia at Sweet Cheeks Q

Healthy maple-brined wings made at Sweet Cheeks Q
Healthy maple-brined wings made by Chef Dan Raia at Sweet Cheeks Q. —Sweet Cheeks Q

You can never have too many wings at a Super Bowl party. These are made with maple syrup and salsa verde.

Note: You will need a smoker set to 250-275 degrees for best results, but the wings can also be baked or grilled.

Ingredients:

3 pounds of large chicken wings, split
2 quarts of warm water
3/4 cup of salt
1/2 cup of maple syrup
2 whole lemons, cut and juiced
1/4 cup of whole black peppercorns
Salsa verde (recipe below)
Yogurt ranch (recipe below)
Salt to taste

For the salsa verde:

1/2 cup of shallots, minced
4 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup of chives, finely minced
1/4 cup of tarragon or cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of hot red pepper flakes
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
The lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon
The lime zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

For the yogurt ranch:

3/4 cup of thick, low-fat (not nonfat) Greek yogurt
1/4 cup of low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup of red wine or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of onion powder
3 large cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup of dill, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of tarragon, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste

To prepare the salsa verde:

Whisk all of the ingredients together and season with salt to taste.

To prepare the yogurt ranch:

Whisk all of the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the dish:

Mix the water with the salt, maple syrup, lemons, and black pepper. Cool it to room temperature, then add the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 12-18 hours. Pull the chicken wings out of the brine and dry them off with paper towels. Let them air dry on a sheet pan with a rack inside the fridge for at least 2 hours before smoking. Toss the wings with just a few spoonfuls of the salsa verde in a bowl, and place in your smoker. Smoke the wings for about 90 minutes, or until they are about 160 degrees. Serve with the salsa verde and yogurt ranch for dipping.

This recipe serves four people.

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