My paella is not traditionally Spanish. It is more like a Portuguese dish in the sense that it combines seafood and meat. But I’ve been making it for years and it is a family favorite—one that, I might add, I often serve to guests. Served with crusty bread, a simple green salad and some good white wine, it makes a perfect Friday night dinner with friends.

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Nippy Oyster and Bacon Dip With Crisp Potato Wedges


This rich, creamy dip is very versatile. Spoon into a serving bowl and surround with a big platter of vegetables for dipping, such as blanched broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts, or crispy potato wedges  If simplicity is the order of the day, open a bag of potato chips. Either way, this dip always earns rave reviews.

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Tuna Tapenade


Known as Provençal caviar, tapenade is a flavorful mixture of capers, olives and anchovies, among other ingredients. Here, the addition of tuna lightens up the result. Serve this with carrot or celery sticks, sliced cucumber, crackers or Basic Crostini . It also makes a delicious filling for hard-cooked eggs.

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Smoked Salmon and Grits Cakes

Smoked Salmon and Grits Cakes(page 60)

These savory squares are very easy to make and deliciously different. They are great finished with a small dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives, as the recipe calls for. If you’re looking for another flavor sensation, try topping each square with diced roasted red peppers, tossed in olive oil.


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Shrimp’ n Grits


I first tasted this delectable combination many years ago in Charleston, South Carolina, and I haven’t been able to get enough of it since. Serve this to guests for a special lunch with a crisp green salad or fresh asparagus  in season. Or just it enjoy it with your family, as I often do.

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Braised Swordfish


This is a great dish for entertaining because you can assemble it just before your guests arrive and turn the slow cooker on when they come through the door. By the time everyone is enjoying drinks and nibblies, the conversation is flowing and you’re thinking about moving to the table, the fish will be cooked. Serve with a big platter of sautéed spinach or rapini alongside. Add a good dessert and await the praise.Continue reading