What the heck is an amuse bouche anyway?? It’s merely a French term that means “mouth amuser”. It is a small bite with a pop of flavor. It could be served in a spoon, as a finger food, or in a little shot glass.
My first experience with a chef’s amuse bouche was not a good one. It was the cutest little spoon of a duck pate, but once it touched my tongue, the outcome was more of an overwhelming moment of wondering how I was going to actually swallow that awful tasting and textured paste. That was years ago and I had kind of forgotten about that amuse bouche.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the food pages that I follow on Facebook announced a weekend “amuse bouche challenge”. I was intrigued but actually in Kansas City for the weekend. We had hotel reservations at 21C Museum Hotel and the restaurant at the hotel is The Savoy. It is one of the oldest restaurants west of the Mississippi River. (Little piece of trivia, it was a favorite restaurant of Harry S. Truman’s and his favorite booth is marked with a sign.) We went to The Savoy to get drinks and appetizers. After our drinks arrived, a gentleman from the kitchen appeared and presented the chef’s amuse bouche for the evening. He had two silver spoons sitting quaintly on a small place and quickly gave us a description of what we were about to enjoy. I didn’t digest everything he described but he said something about pureed turnips with a chili oil.
Voila! The start of my newest obsession!
The amazing pop of flavor in my mouth got my attention. By the time I realized that I needed to know more about that bite, the gentleman had departed. We got our servers attention and she gave us the description again. It wasn’t enough to know how to make it but I was going to try to replicate that yumminess at home for sure!
Once I got back home, I got on Google and searched for turnip recipes. Then I searched any and all amuse bouche recipes that I could find. From there, I started writing down a list of foods that I love to make and could possibly make amazing bite-sized creations.
And then I started… I have created four of my very own amuse bouches in the last two weeks. As I was starting my first one, I announced that I am going to name my amazing ones “Amaze Bouches”. Not two steps into the process, I realized that I had already screwed up and panicked. At the same time, I was yelling out – “and my screw ups with be called Shit Abouches!”. So far all four of my amuse bouches are in the the Amaze category but, as we all know, kitchen experiences can always take wrong turns!
Garlicky Turnup Puree w/ Chili Oil:
5 Small Turnips, cleaned and trimmed
1 Garlic Clove, smashed
1 sprig Lemon Thyme
12 oz almond milk (plain)
-Simmer until turnips are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain (reserve liquid and discard thyme)
-Puree Turnips (add a little of the liquid (not too much, you don’t want it to be runny!)
3 Tbsp Butter
-Add butter to puree
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp chili flakes
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
½ Tsp Ground Cayenne
-I heated the four ingredients on my warmer during the rest of the process
Panko and toasted garlic for toppers (I toasted 2 cloves finely chopped garlic in a cast iron skillet while the turnips were simmering.)
When the turnip puree is ready, lay serving spoons out. Fill each spoon about half full and create a little dip. Drizzle oil in the dip and let it overflow a little. Top with panko and toasted garlic. Serve immediately while warm and panko is still crunchy!