I recently assisted in a beer tasting at Headquarters Beercade, a new arcade bar w/free games. Our chef created a menu of 5 small plates/hor d’oeuvres to pair with 5 beers from Green Flash Brewing Company from San Diego. There was beet & horseradish cured salmon crostini, prosciutto & asiago croquettes, housemade curry jerky, lamb cevapcici w/housemade ajvar, and zucchini bread w/chocolate porter sauce. Pretty delicious meal and some good beer for those in attendance. Most importantly, I got paid, fed, played free arcade games like NBA Jam & Area 51, and drank free beer. Much success. So the small plates inspired me to start my meals with something similar. I like the idea of starting a meal with something small and fresh, w/interesting and slightly challenging flavors.
I decided to begin a recent meal with an amuse-bouche. An amuse-bouche is a one hit wonder, originally it was a free gift from the chef designed to awaken the palate and give a glimpse of the meal to follow. It’s like the flavors of a beautiful and diverse meal coming together in a single bite serving. A really good amuse-bouche considers not only flavors such as sweet, sour, spicy, and savory, but contains different textures and beautiful colors, as well. I wanted to have creamy and crunchy textures, bright and light colors, and sour, sweet, and spicy flavors all integrated. I was sort of thinking of a picnic salad that usually has some fruit, mayo, sometimes seafood, etc. To achieve creaminess without mayo, I decided to combine avocado, goat cheese, and lemon. Success. Apple would contribute a crunch and sugar. I ate a ceviche recently with very thinly sliced Thai chile, so I added once slice per bite. The tomato was inspired by oven dried tomatoes we make at Etno and gave really good acidity and sweetness. I was overall really happy with this amuse-bouche, especially because I had leftovers the next day and made myself a luxurious crab, avocado, and goat cheese sandwich. The flavor combination is pretty much spot on and will make your taste buds fiend for more and that’s my idea of a successful amuse-bouche.
Crab Salad on Crostini Amuse-Bouche: 16 single portions
- 1 ripe avocado, skin and seed removed
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- splash olive oil
- few drops honey
- shredded crab
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 golden crisp apple, cut into squares
- 1 Thai chile, very thinly sliced and deseeded
- sourdough bread, cut into small circles
Preheat oven to 325. Gently mix tomatoes w/balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Bake on oven at 325 for about an hour or until tomatoes are dehydrated slightly. Drizzle sourdough circles w/olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake until dried out for crostini-style bread. Mix avocado, goat cheese, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper until a smooth consistency is reached. Mix crab, fish sauce, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice to taste. Assemble the bite and serve!