Throwing a themed party requires food that fits into the pattern. The lush tropics of the Caribbean offer fresh, exotic options for any island party. Appetizers for a party can be hand-held bites of the islands by taking inspiration from traditional flavours of Caribbean dishes and local products.
Serve deep fried plantain chips called tostones rather than crisps. Plantains resemble large, green bananas. These are often served as a starch rather than a sweet as bananas are. When ripe, the skin on plantains will turn yellow-orange. This recipe can be made with unripe green plantains, but ripened plantains can also be used. Slice peeled plantains into thin strips and deep fry for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in 375 degree oil. Drain and serve with a dip or salsa of your choice (see Resources).
Curried Coconut Chips
Press a finger into the three "eyes" of the coconut to find the softest one. Use an ice pick or awl to pierce this eye. Turn the coconut upside down over a sink to drain it of its liquid and bake at 232 degrees Cor 15 minutes to heat the meat so that it will more easily pry away from the shell. Open the coconut with a hammer, and cut large chunks of the coconut flesh out with a knife. Slice into thin strips or use a vegetable peeler to shave it into strips. Toss with curry seasoning, salt and sugar. Bake the chips in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp (see Resources).
Jerk Chicken Wings or Skewers
Jerk seasoning is traditionally used to cure meat for several days to make jerky, but this seasoning mix can also be combined with a liquid to make a marinade or barbecue sauce which can be used over chicken, beef, tofu or pork prior to grilling. Marinate chicken wings or 1-inch cubes of chicken in bottled jerk marinade or a recipe (see Resources). Chicken wings or skewers can be baked in a 450 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or grilled for 10 to 12 minutes.
Shrimp and Conch Meat
Make coconut fried shrimp to take advantage of both coconut and the seafood of the Caribbean. Another option are conch fritters. These are made by combining chopped conch meat with egg yolks, milk, minced onion and cayenne pepper. Self rising flour is stirred into this and the beaten egg whites from the yolks are folded in. The resulting batter is dropped into 330 degree oil for four minutes or until golden brown. Serve with tartare sauce.