Friday, September 19, 2008

Smoked Salmon Crisps

When I saw this adapted Thomas Keller recipe in Food and Wine a few months ago, I knew it was an appetizer I would enjoy. But it looked a little challenging and unfamiliar (what exactly is a tuile?), so I didn't really think about making the recipe. The picture looked beautiful, but complicated. I know, it claimed to be an "easy" recipe, but it just looked like something I would never have time for.

As you read in my last post, I didn't have to work yesterday, so I decided I needed to use my extra time around the house to make a delicious dinner. I wanted something more complicated and gourmet than my day to day cooking, and I looked towards Food and Wine magazine for inspiration. When I saw the Smoked Salmon Crisps, I knew I'd found my recipe. It was absolutely more upscale than our usual Thursday night cooking, but it still looked manageable.

I followed the directions exactly, but had a little bit of trouble making the tuiles. It said they would make about 3 dozen... I made 10. I guess that means I didn't quite spread them thin enough, but that was something I didn't realize until it was too late. Also, they did not cook evenly, and ended up well done on the edges but pretty pale in the middle. I decided to use them anyway, and they still tasted pretty fantastic. Buttery and sweet, they were a perfect complement to the salty salmon mixture on top. And crème fraîche is one of my favorite things in the world, so having it on top just made this appetizer come together.

I LOVED these crisps, and intend to make them again. I think I will just cook at a slightly lower temperature, and be careful when spreading out the dough. It would be a great appetizer to make when we're having a dinner party, too, because I could make the tuiles and salmon mix in advance, and assemble at the last minute.

Smoked Salmon Crisps
from Food and Wine magazine, July 2008

Chef Way: Thomas Keller’s salmon cornets (tuiles shaped into tiny cones and topped with crème fraîche and fresh salmon) are a famous kickoff to his luxe and whimsical meals at the French Laundry in Napa Valley. The original recipe appears in The French Laundry Cookbook (Artisan).
Easy Way: Shaping the tuiles into cones is tricky and involves working very quickly with a cornet mold. Instead, leave the tuiles flat, like crackers. Top them with store-bought smoked salmon and crème fraîche.

4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 chilled large egg white
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
4 ounces sliced smoked salmon, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons very finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 teaspoons very finely chopped chives, plus a few snipped, for garnish
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup crème fraîche
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the egg white and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter until smooth and creamy.

Spoon teaspoons of the batter 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and spread to 2-inch rounds. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and bake in the upper and middle third of the oven for about 15 minutes, shifting the pans from top to bottom and front to back, until the tuiles are golden and fragrant. Let cool.
In a medium bowl, combine the salmon with the shallot, chopped chives, lemon zest and a pinch of white pepper. Spoon the salmon onto the tuiles and top with a dollop of crème fraîche and a couple of snipped chives. Serve right away.

While I like a good glass of wine, I do have to admit that Joe and I are much more into drinking good beer. This beer is one of my all time favorites. La Chouffe is from Belgium, and my mom introduced me to it when I was in the Netherlands last October. It's a white beer with a really interesting spice flavor, and I can't get enough of it! It's pretty hard to find in the States, so when I saw it at Trader Joe's recently I had to pick it up. But even if the $9 price tag turns you off, it is sooooo worth it! This was the perfect special drink to go with my gourmet appetizers.


Sara said...

These look great, I have the french laundry cookbook but I've never actually make anything from it!

Anonymous said...

Wow, these look amazing. Like...I could eat 100 in one sitting, amazing! :)

Sarah said...

These do look like the perfect dinner party treat.

Nicole said...

Oh... this looks really fun to try! I love it.

Vanessa said...

I just made these today and had the exact same results as you! My oven cooked them unevenly and I only got a few. Haven't tasted them yet, but hopefully they're good!