Get your party off to a charming start with quirky fun or old world charm – present your guests with an amuse-bouche – Devils on Horseback.
I guess I should start off with an explanation of what an amuse bouche is. Literally translated, amuse-bouche means “happy mouth.” Mike Orenduffat, owner of the Book and Table, introduced us to it. An amuse-bouche is a single serving not on the menu. You don’t order it. It is presented by the chef as a representation of their style of food and is an indication of what you can expect from your upcoming meal. It is a very French tradition.
Although it is now being used to describe finger food and canapés or bite sized hors d’oeuvres, it is in fact, none of these things. An amuse-bouche is a thing of beauty and elegance and of lovely tastes and flavors. The amuse conveys a high level of hospitality.
You can find amuse-bouch being served at high-end restaurants in many of our US major cities but Amuse-bouche aren’t reserved for fancy restaurants anymore. These tiny bites served just before your meal are now popping up at dinner party tables in homes everywhere.
Traditionally, amuse-bouche were tiny, bite-sized treats sent out by the chef to whet diners’ appetites for the meal to follow. Unlike appetizers, diners don’t get to choose their amuse-bouche from the menu. They’re pleasantly surprised with whatever the chef prepares for them.
Amuse-bouche can be as simple as a bowl of olives or freshly baked artisanal bread served with extra virgin olive oil for dipping, but they’re often extravagant concoctions of foams, mousses, and gelées from talented chefs. Home cooks can serve elegant and palate pleasing amuse-bouche by using quality ingredients with big flavors.
Here is a delightful recipe for an amuse-bouche that delivers an explosion of flavor.
Devils on Horseback
- 24 large dates, pitted
- 12 slices bacon, halved crosswise
- 1/3 cup crumbled Stilton cheese (a good quality Blue Cheese will also work)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 24 toothpicks in a small bowl filled with water; let soak 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit with a wire rack; set aside.
- Halve dates lengthwise being careful not to cut all the way through. Place a small amount of cheese in the center of each date. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date. Secure bacon with a toothpick.
- Place dates on prepared baking sheet. Bake until bacon is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove the toothpicks. Place the bacon wrapped date on a skewer. Then place several skewers in a glass.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy!