Alternate Dinner Plans: AMUSE-BOUCHE

Cherry tomatoes, balsamic “caviar”, olive “soil”, Ontario organic feta, cucumber, asparagus shoots, bread stick (cumin & thyme).

This one was super fun as it was a bit of a last minute creation based on ideas I’d gleaned from other sources:

Since I had already decided to use the Goat Cheese Foam for the third course, I was scratching my head for something to do with the olive soil and  balsamic pearls.

Then it hit me: Olives and Balsamic Vinegar = important parts of a Greek Salad.

Last year, I’d already tried to recreate the balsamic pearls served in hollowed out cherry tomatoes and it was very tasty. So why not put this together with the olive soil, some feta, cucumbers, basil, and maybe some micro greens?

Funny thing was this was the only recipe I didn’t actually try before the night of the dinner. It just sounded right so I decided to go for it. The day before the dinner I put some black olives and some Kalamata olives in the dehydrator, bought some local cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and feta, and took a chance.

Dehydrator - Olives

And holy hell, it was delicious.

Mid afternoon, the day of,  I made the balsamic pearls (I started calling them “caviar” as it’s slightly more pretentious). Once people arrived, I hollowed out the cherry tomatoes and put them together, and started assembling the spoons.

Previously, I’d ground the dehydrated olives in a coffee grinder – separately as I didn’t want to muddle the flavour of the Kalamata olives. I added each to the spoons:

Dried Olive "Soil"

 I then crumbled up some feta and sprinkled this over the olives and placed a prepared cherry tomato in the centre of the spoon.

For the cucumbers, I used a vegetable peeler to shave off thin strips and curled them on either side of the tomatoes. A thin slice of fresh basil (from our herb garden) was placed on top of the balsamic caviar:

Nearly there...

As a final touch, I added some asparagus shoot micro-greens.

The result was amazing.

"Greek Salad"

My first taste was with everyone else at the table and I’ll admit that I was a little nervous that it would not work.

This bite sized salad, however, turned out to be amazing. It hit every note I hoped it would.

Accompanying the “salad” was a bowl of cumin and thyme breadsticks. I baked these up the night before. These were enjoyed by all.

I didn’t get a pic of the breadsticks the night of, but I did get this nice snapshot of the dough:

Breadstick Dough

The drink pairing was a well chilled  EastDell Pinot Grigio VQA that added just the right crispness on the palate*.

East Dell

* A note on the wine paring: I’m not in any way, shape, or form super knowledgable about wine. I know what I like and have an okay idea of what flavour pairs with others. This was one of the pairings decided with a DuckDuckGo search: “wine paring greek salad”. Pinot Grigo came up. I wanted to keep the drinks local (with one exception as you’ll see in the next post) so I checked out the LCBO site for VQA’s. I settled on this one as the description of “mellon, honey, wax” intrigued me.