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by on November 19th, 2009

Little Bites

Little Bites to tingle your tastebuds! — Amuse Bouche

I had never heard that word (Amuse Bouche) until I came back from our NYC trip in September and I was telling a friend I work with about a little potato appetizer we had at Gramercy Tavern. She said “oh, you had an Amuse Bouche”. (pronounced uh-MYUZboosh) And I have been obsessed ever since with these little bites. The chef at Gramercy Tavern actually sent me that recipe which I plan on making during Thanksgiving holidays. The one we had that night (and I guessed right on the recipe) was a choux pastry puff that had mashed fingerling potatoes mixed in and they were deep fried in grape seed oil and when done, an olive tapenade was piped into the center of the puff and was served on a bed of sea salt. We only had one each, but that was enough for me to know I wanted the recipe.

You won’t find Amuse Bouche on any restaurant menu because they are usually compliments of the chef. Sometimes chefs use the amuse bouche as a way to try out different recipes that may become an appetizer on their menu. An Amuse Bouche is a one bite appetizer served before the meal meant to tantalize your taste buds. In French the word means “mouth amuser”.

Recently I have checked out two books from our library in search of some different little bites I can try for some parties I’m catering. The books are Amuse Bouche by Rick  Tramonto (chef/partner at Tru in Chicago), and Small Bites by Jennifer Joyce. I have found several I want to try out during the holidays.

Here are two Amuse Bouche recipes I have tried, nothing fancy, but cute and yummy. The third appetizer I did in these little bamboo cones. Wouldn’t be classified as an amuse bouche because it is more than one bite but thought it was worth posting. The burger and melon appetizers I thought up my self (like I said, nothing fancy)

This tiny burger is a take on “sliders”, much smaller and cuter I think. I’ve been wanting to make a mini burger for a long time so I thought why not try an amuse bouce burger. Anyway, here’s what it looked like.

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Isn’t this the cutest thing ever. No recipe needed. I used wheat bread, toasted it and then using a 1″ cutter, cut out little buns. Then I fried up some little burgers about 1″ size, put a squirt of mustard (any kind) on the burger. Top this with another piece of toast (bun), then a slice of grape tomato, tiny onion slice (those cute little onions that are the size of a dime) and little chunk of baby dill to finish it off. You could also use small slice of cheese on burger if you wanted. Just cut it out using your 1″ cutter. Put one on a plate, dot with mustard, for dipping and serve. Wouldn’t a few julienned fries be a cute garnish for the plate.

This little stuffed potato recipe I got from finedinings.com. This website has a lot of  amuse bouche recipes using different presentation pieces. I rubbed my potatoes with oil and sea salt before baking in the oven instead of boiling them like the original recipe. You could also stuff the scooped out potato shells with a homemade ham salad and insert a few julienned carrots in the top for a garnish.

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New Potato Stuffed with Shrimp

1-1/2 pounds small new potatoes, wash and dry
40 frozen cooked Shrimp thawed, tails intact *
extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream cheese
4 bacon slices, cooked crisp, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons chives, minced
green onion tops, sliced thin for garnish

Rub the potatoes with oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Bake in 350° oven until done (insert knife to check doneness).  Cut potatoes in half without tearing the skins. Scoop out and discard centers using a melon baller leaving 1/4-inch walls; cut a thin slice off bottom of each potato to sit level. Can be made 1 day ahead.

Put shrimp in single layer in a shallow dish, sprinkle with oil, salt, pepper, and thyme; marinate 3 hours or overnight covered and refrigerated. (I used raw shrimp and sprinkled it with a chili lime seasoning and then sauteed until pink, cool.

Combine in a small bowl the sour cream, cream cheese, crumbled bacon, seasoning salt, pepper and chives; spoon into potatoes; blot shrimps briefly (if you marinated them) on paper towels, put one on stuffed potato with tail sticking up; garnish with onion tops and serve. Makes about 40.

The next time I make these I will be leaving the tails off because they are harder to eat when you have to dispose of the tail. Also, this would make a perfect amuse bouche if you allowed only one per person. You can buy exactly how many potatoes and shrimp you will need without having a lot of waste. I think the only problem I see with amuse bouche is that if you really liked it, and want another one, well, you only get one.  They are, after all, suppose to tantalize your taste buds for the remainder of the meal.


Bamboo cones filled with bits of proscuitto and cantalope and drizzled with balsamic.

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We did a walking tour of Greenwich Village while in NYC and we stopped at about eight spots for tastings. We stopped at Palma and they served us fried artichoke petals in these little bamboo cones. I’m using these little 3 1/2″ cones at a party in December and I’m doing shoestring potatoes drizzled with truffle oil. And I’m trying to figure out a way to use this florist wire to hold them on a silver tray. I found my cones at J.B.Prince and also cones and little bamboo boats at Pick On Us.

For this recipe I used a balsamic (I have a red and a white and tried both), melon and prosciutto.

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Each cone held about 1/3 cup of the melon cubes with the proscuitto. I have teeny tiny silver plastic forks that look really cute in the cones.

This isn’t really an Amuse Bouche but I was playing around with the bamboo cones I ordered and came up with a different app. I chopped some cantaloupe in small 1/2″ dice and tossed it with some chopped up prosciutto and drizzled it with balsamic vinegar. The next time I do these, I’m going to bake the prosciutto in the oven to make it crispy and the sprinkle and mix it with the cantaloupe.

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As you can see from the drips on the plate, the balsamic dripped through. I had a solution. I dipped the tips of the cones in melted candle wax.

There are all sorts of things you can use for containers for an amuse bouche. I picked up some appetizer spoons at Crate and Barrel and I also have a bunch of Chinese soup spoons that I tie little ribbons through the hole in the end. Another cute container for amuse bouche is a votive cup. If you can pick these up really cheap you can put dip in them with a few veggie sticks.

I hope to add more of these “little bite”  recipes/ideas in the future. I have a Tai Tuna Ton Won Chip I will post after my Christmas party in December. Some other ideas I have for using my appetizer spoons are, Shrimp and Grits (served in Asian soup spoon) and a creamy stone ground grits with butternut squash and sweet corn. I also picked up some oyster forks at a restaurant supply store and am doing some caprese forks. I’m cutting a cherry tomato in half, putting small slice of fresh mozzarella with some pesto, then the top of the tomato back on. I’m spearing these with the oyster fork and then I’m going to stand them up in a Styrofoam block covered with lettuce and other greens. I will post this after I do the party.

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