Prepare my special polenta made with homemade chicken broth. Let it set up overnight, pressed about a half-inch thick on a metal baking sheet. Cover with foil, shiny side in.
Using a tiny cookie cutter, press the set polenta into individual one-inch rounds. Sear the polenta rounds on a large hot buttered grill pan to show grill marks and warm them through. Careful not to burn. You just want the slight char flavour.
Knock off frozen rounds of compound butter coins that are the same diameter as the polenta coins, from your compound butter coin reserve collection. Dot each polenta coin with a compound butter coin.
Top each tiered polenta coin with an Atlantic salmon lox rose that you drizzle with homemade creamy maple caramel sauce and a flutter of Atlantic Ocean hand-cultured finishing salt flakes from Amagansett, for a hint of crunch.
These bite-size nibbles are a perfect size.
Arrange for at least three per serving tucked among loosely arranged fresh Boston bibb lettuce on a large platter.
If available, serve a side dish of Jewish deli cream cheese. If you aren’t familiar with it, source it locally (in Toronto check out United Bakers Dairy in Lawrence Plaza), because there’s nothing else like it. Always a great New Year’s treat on a grilled thin-sliced bagel. Bagel, cream cheese and lox is historically delicious during the holidays no matter which holiday you celebrate. Perhaps start a holiday tradition at your house.
Alternate: You could serve very cold full fat sour cream on the side.
Good gourmet food always finds a special home anywhere in the world… let mine make yours special wherever you are. Maybe have your camera handy. Such eye-candy for a picture.
Bitters pair well with this service as a straight shot glass or in an ounce tester long-stem crystal glass as a palate cleanser: maybe Unterberg, Berlin Monks’ Mampe Halb and Halb, Charteuse, Pernod, Benedictine or a world favourite, French Noilly Prat.
Cocktail hour: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey salmon roses
Brush a large piece of gravlox with medium sugar syrup, honey (or maple syrup) and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey, a mixture of equal parts cooked down and cooled to room temperature.
Cut the whiskey lox in nearly paper-thin slices on the diagonal and roll, stand on end in a little puddle of horseradish whipped cream sauce. The lox rolls will look a little like rose blooms. Top each rose with a “popped” roasted caper or a tiny bit of caviar.
If you have access to “finger-lime pearls” faux caviar, this is an ideal spot to use them. The pearls come in various colours. Plants are sometimes available in spring at local nurseries. Because the plants are imported they are often expensive. They are largely a product of Australia.
Serve the lox roses on a fresh parmesan tuile or in a tiny tuile nest. Tuiles (tweels) can be made ahead of time but absolutely must be kept away from humidity moisture. They would just become blobs of parm. Count three per serving.
To decorate each plate, serve a fresh figgy flower (crosscut a fresh black mission fig to look like an open bloom) filled with my figgy butter cream icing piped into the split fig positioned on the wide end of a crispy white raw Belgian endive leaf. If fresh black mission figs are not available you could use a generous plumped fig from your Asbach Uralt brandy marinating jar.
What a delightful fresh tastebud treat. Perfect hors d’oeuvres or amuse bouche.
If you have glass drink coasters, put a matching size paper lace doily on each coaster to carry as guests mingle (at Christmas time choose a snowflake doily). On each doily, put a bite-size tuile or nest supporting each lox rose. A tiny twig of dill on each makes a pretty presentation. And salmon loves fresh cracked black peppercorns.
The lox roses can be made a few hours ahead and covered with plastic wrap on a platter until ready to serve. Such a pretty presentation on an oversize black plate. Each bite literally melts in your mouth.
See another way to use the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey lox at my original polenta cake recipe in the comments below. You could top your polenta cake with whiskey lox roses in a carpaccio style.
For dessert, a generous on-the-rocks whiskey glass filled with frozen Chantilly creme doused with the same whiskey, honey (maple syrup) and sugar sauce used for the lox roses, just when ready to serve.
You could use this frozen creme to fill my Pavlova bird’s nests.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey lox and apple salsa
There are no measurements; use what you have. Prepare a brunoise of my Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey lox. Cut firm juicy apples the same size. Mince a small raw red onion that you have marinated in plain white vinegar and sugar to release any sharpness. Equal portions. Add a pinch of crushed fresh tarragon.
Toss the mixture in the leftover sugar, honey (maple syrup) and whiskey to marinate briefly.
Add a little extra virgin olive oil and spritz with homemade Italian salad dressing.
Sprinkle with fresh-cracked peppercorns, a pinch of Amagansett sea salt flakes and minced fresh dill.
Just when ready to serve, add quartered coins of marinated Celebrity Goat Cream Cheese from your always at-the-ready jar.
Serve in a crispy lettuce cup in a large martini glass. Pipe a little cold full fat sour cream around the edge of the serving glass. Hang a marinated-in-the-left-over-whiskey sauce, fresh ripe juicy peach quartered slice on the edge of the glass. Sprinkle the peach with sea salt. And don’t forget peaches love pepper.
This light, palate-friendly dish is delightful served as a side dish with any seafood entree.
Plate the martini glass on a see-though glass plate on a paper doily to stabilize. Offer a pie fork and a spoon to enjoy every drop.
© Spirits in My Kitchen: Lady Ralston – Canadian Cooking with Bouquets and Aromas – Good Food Made Better Adding Spirits
Look for this cookbook title in 2021: Lady Ralston’s Canadian Contessa Amuse Bouche Hors D’Ouvres Collection ~ a Bite of this and a Nibble of that…