Julia's Dinner Party: Amuse-Bouche

Well, Julia graduated from the University of Michigan last weekend. Congratulations to her, finishing in three and a half years! To celebrate Julia's momentous occasion back in Michigan, I decided it would only be fitting to throw her an equally momentous dinner party with her Mama Mary (Happy Birthday!), her sister Erica, and members of my family (Mom, Dad, Jacob, Hill and Chris). I did the cooking and Mary the hosting, and it all went off swimmingly – at least according to the eight other consumers of my cooking. So unless one of them steps up to write a more revealing review, I'll break it up and tell you a little bit each day. Starting of course with the opening bites of cheddar, sage and tomato in puff pastry.

So to make my amuse-bouche, I started with one sheet of frozen puff pastry. I unfolded it and pulled it apart so it would thaw faster and left it out on the counter for 45 minutes at which point it was thawed and feeling much like a dough.

I cut the dough into 32 square-like shapes by stacking the puff pastry and cutting. I wanted 16 of the squares to be on the larger size, with 16 on the smaller size. Maybe a square inch for the bigger ones and a square centimeter for the smaller ones, but I was not exact nor were they all exactly squares.

I laid the 16 larger squares onto a baking sheet and then added two shavings of extra sharp cheddar cheese on top of each one. I tried for each shaving to be as long and thin as I could, so they covered a lot of the square. I then added a half slice of a small tomato on top of each cheese/pastry square. I used little Campari tomatoes by slicing them and cutting each slice in half. Roma tomatoes would also work. To my tomato, cheese and pastry stack I added a single, small, fresh sage leaf, and then I covered each stack with the associated smaller square of pastry as a top. To finish them off, I put a little extra smidge of cheddar on top of all the tops and then cracked some black pepper and drizzled a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil over the tray.

At this point the tray can really sit out or in the fridge until ready to be baked off, which is what I did. So it worked well as a prep-ahead dish. Right when people were coming, I popped them into a 400 degree oven until they were puffy and golden. This was under ten minutes, but I really did it by sight. When the dough is puffy and the cheese melted, they are done and ready to be served hot!

And after the 16 were gobbled up by the hungry dinner attendants before I could say “amuse-bouche” three times, I knew they were winners. When I tried one myself and tasted the golden, savory treat that it was, I appreciated the cook just a little bit more for saving one for himself.

More tomorrow on the salad course.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

These were truly awesome!! Better than almost any appetizer I have tried. They certain amused my bouche!! Dad.