(July 12, 2019) The process of making a decision is based on calculated choices and personal preference.
This progression is the foundation and criteria that determines one’s level of success.
A chef is no exception to the rule and must question and examine each and every component of his work. This detailed and intellectual interest is what supports and defines creativity.
The art of entertaining encompasses the same scrutiny if perfection is to be achieved. Particulars are a key factor, and it is these intricate touches that ultimately distinguishes one host from another.
Appetizers, main courses, side dishes and desserts are part of the equation for a fabulous occasion, but let us not forget the almighty amuse bouche and all of its splendor.
An amuse bouche is a bite-sized hors d’oeuvre which translates to, “to please the mouth.”
It is a tempting appetizer that a chef presents at the beginning of a meal. This dish symbolizes a greeting from the chef, an acknowledgement of the diner’s patronage, and is also a way for a chef to show off their creativity.
However, an amuse bouche should not be limited to professional chefs. It can also be a host’s best friend.
Home cooks should follow suite and become acquainted with these tempting little bites.
The amuse bouche came into being around the time when French chefs developed “nouvelle-cuisine,” an era where fine dining became infamous for its smaller portions and whimsical presentations.
The focus was on tasting the natural flavors while moving away from the traditional heavy sauces and marinades.
It was also a time where chefs started being competitive, striving to outdo each other in originality.
The simplest form of food was deconstructed and reconstructed to new heights never believed possible.
However, amuse bouches became unfashionable during the 80s and were almost forgotten.
But over the years, the tasty morsels have come back into the limelight and for good reason. They are a great way to incorporate an expensive item into your menu at an affordable price.
The small portions, literally are small enough to pop in your mouth. In fact, an amuse bouche can be small enough to be served on a spoon.
When preparing an amuse bouche, remember presentation is a vital part of the experience. Allow your imagination to guide you to the level of artistry where your plate is your canvas.
It is also a good idea to keep in mind the rules for plating.
Height is the first thing your eyes notice when a course is being served. Color also stands out and should be a major consideration.
Finally, incorporate texture into your offering. No matter how small your portions are, you want them to stimulate your palate and evoke wonderment.
A smoked salmon parfait layered with soft cheese that has been infused with lemon and herbs is delectable indeed. The tiny appetizer is served in 3-inch shot glass and is accompanied with a little spoon.
Nova salmon is very expensive and hard to find, but Harris Teeter sells it at $14.99 a pound. These bites are small pieces and not perfect slices, which makes them ideal for a parfait since they will be coarsely chopped.
Eight ounces of Nova bites will run you about $10, but you will have enough for approximately 10 appetizer portions. Remember, the shot glasses are only 3-inches tall.
The cheese filling consists of Boursin’s Garlic and Herb blend, sour cream, fresh lemon juice and dill. How simple is that?
Salmon caviar can be used as a garnish but this is optional. The caviar is placed on the spoon so your guests have the option to eat it by itself or mix it in the parfait.
The shot glasses can be purchased at Amazon or any store that specializes in cookery for entertaining. These glasses with matching spoons are a must for those who enjoy having company.
In closing, a smoked salmon parfait is elegant, delicious and quite impressive. Sometimes less is better! Enjoy.
Smoked Salmon Parfait
2 (5.2 oz) Garlic & Fine Herbs Boursin cheese
4 tablespoons sour ream
4 splashes fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh or dried dill
8 ounces smoked salmon
fresh dill as a garnish
salmon caviar as a garnish (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, using a hand-held mixer, blend the cheese, sour cream, lemon juice and dill. Place mixture in a piping bag with a tip of choice. Set aside.
2. Coarsely chop the salmon.
3. Layer the cheese mixture with the salmon in the shot glass. Using a piping bag for the cheese filling makes the layering process much easier and looks better.
4. Garnish the plate with fresh dill and salmon caviar.
This recipe will make approximately 10 appetizer portions.
Secret Ingredient – Originality. “Originality is simply a pair of fresh eyes.”
– Thomas Wentworth Higginson