Monday, May 4, 2009

Amuse-Bouches Experimentation

I read an article a few days ago about amuse-bouches, the small introductory tastes offered by the chef before a fine meal, and ever since I have had my mind on them. They are a great way for a chef to express him or herself with a fun little one or two-bite treat. Good amuse-bouches are as much a visual feast as they are an edible one, setting forth the culinary philosophy of the chef while marking the start of the meal. I have never thought to serve an amuse to guests at dinner parties so I decided to experiment. People obsessed with food and eating as a whole whether you call them gourmets, foodies, slow food advocates, what have you, do excessive things in the kitchen from time to time. I admit to baking entire pies, cooking massive meals, and eating far too many snacks in a day when left to my own devices. I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen and occasionally it goes so overboard that I cannot help but laugh at my behavior. For instance today after eating a fantastic Saba filled breakfast my mind wandered to amuse-bouches as a thought popped in my head; risotto cakes. After rummaging through the fridge I had a small pile of ingredients to work with and set about bringing my risotto cake with tomato jam and sun dried tomato vinaigrette amuse to fruition. I rolled little balls of leftover risotto from the night before and fried them in olive oil. After they were crispy with a dark brown crust on both sides I plated them individually with a dollop of tomato jam, something I bought at the farmer’s market, and vinaigrette. For said vinaigrette I pureed sun dried tomatoes with smoked paprika, olive oil, and sherry vinegar. The bright red sauce had a smoky tomato flavor that contrasted with the sweet taste of the jam and the cheesy risotto cake. I know it sounds a little weird to hang out prepping amuse-bouches at home on a Monday afternoon but believe me I got a kick out of it. As always, I encourage you to enjoy and share delicious food and home cooked meals with yourself and others!

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