A friend and co-worker of my wife sent her a message today, asking for recommendations for a amuse-bouche that would compliment her Christmas dinner menu.
She started her email with this sentence:
“I know you are the lady that is married to the man that knows stuff about food”
Well…apparently I’m famous…or at least infamous, and either way, THAT deserves a blog post! So, Jessica…this one’s for you!
An amuse-bouche (sometimes called an amuse-gueule) is a one or two-bite hors d’œuvre. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but served according to the chef’s selection alone, and with no more than one of each selection, per guest. The amuse-bouche is served both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to cooking.
Often it will be a contrasting flavor or technique than the rest of the meal, in order to awaken the taste-buds, without dulling the flavor receptors that the chef is targeting with the main courses.
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Jessica…for your Christmas menu, which appears to be very traditional (and looks delicious, btw), I would recommend a “little something different” with one or two of these recipes…
Crevette dans les Filets (Shrimp in Nets)
These salty, crunchy seafood bites, would be my first amuse-bouche choice. They’re simple to make, addictivly delicious, and they look cool… sure to please.
Creamy Chicken-Bacon-Tomato Bites
For a savory amuse-bouche, try piping this dip into hollowed cherry tomatoes, or fresh slices of lightly salted English cucumbers.
Sausage Pepper Bacon Wraps (aka Dragon Claws)
A savory, smokey amuse-bouche for you chile-heads, you can served them sliced from whole peppers, as in the recipe, or make them with the smallest baby bell pepper you can find, or (if you’re insane) grill them in hollowed-out habeneros.
Oak grilled NY Strip Steak
Halve the thicknesses (1 inch for steak, 1/4 inch for toast points) for an amuse bouche of beefy goodness. One of my favorite recipes.
Caprese Tomato Bites
A new spin on a classic Italian dish, and no one knows how to showcase the tomato like the Italians. In Italy, unlike most salads, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter), not a contorno (side dish). This recipe is always a cool, crisp favorite, and we’ve made it dozens of times!
So, I hope that helps, Jessica. If you need more ideas, you know who to call!
Have an “amuse-ing” Christmas!
(C’mon…you knew that was comin’, right?)