Tasting Menus at home
One of my favorite things to order in a restaurant is a tasting menu. I love tasting a variety of the chefs creation and like the surprise. I also love to make tasting menus at home for parties- usually 8-10 small courses. Does anyone else enjoy creating tasting menus and what are some of your recent menus?
I certainly don't do tasting menus with lots of courses at home (I think it would give me a nervous breakdown), but I do like to do tapas-style spreads with lots of small, well-thought out dishes. The key is to pick some dishes which can be made in advance, or rely on superb ingredients and stark simplicity for their deliciousness (and wow factor. I often think simpler choices, in the French style - think perfect omelette, green salad, glass of wine for a dinner party - are both more daring and surprising). It's fun to try and get all the dishes to work together as an overall theme, but involve a wide range of ingredients and flavours.
Currently planning a sunday lunch with a spring, mediterranean theme:
beef carpaccio with shaved gruyere, rocket and salsa verde
steamed broccoli with anchovy vinaigrette, pine nuts and torn mozzarella
soft boiled eggs with home made balsamic mayo
roasted chickpeas with spinach and seared chorizo OR farinata with chorizo and basil
green bean, avocado and almond salad
flaked tuna, bacalao or smoked salmon trout with ?
crumbed and warmed goat's cheese with grilled fruit and leaves
still working on dessert. sometimes a fabulous home made ice cream with chocolate sauce is hard to beat.
Tasting menus at home require a lot of organization, refrigerator space for mise en place, and a lot of plates and cutlery. Many, many wine glasses if you elect to do blind wine pairings too.
Not to say that they're not fun; they're also a great way to see who's an eater and who's a wannabe. One recent one had the following sequence:
"Golden Arches" (spoons of spiced pineapple and a quail-based variant of a Big Mac)
gindara no mushimono
pétoncle et foie frais
"white" risotto with umami
"autumn" (micro-cassoulet and micro-confit with pommes de terre à la sarladaise)
"roast" 5-spice duck
Everything up to the granité also incorporated butter.