Sunday, December 18, 2016

Morsures de Concombre Bruschetta (Cucumber Bruschetta Bites)

Simple, but fancy...especially if you use the French ("morsures de concombre..."); I took these to this year's Christmas dinner party, our annual Fête de Noël, with my French lady friends.

1 English cucumber
½ C bruschetta*
¼ C crumbled chevre (feta would also work well)
fresh cracked pepper and basil leaves to garnish

* This time, I used a purchased bruschetta mix; but a quick mix of tomato, garlic, basil, maybe a little onion or olive or other herbs like oregano or a dash of paprika...anything similar would work! 

If desired, peel cucumber (I used a julienne slicer to partially peel the cucumber for added visual appeal.) Slice the cucumber. Top each slice with a half teaspoon of bruschetta. Garnish with crumbled chevre and a basil leave. Sprinkle with coarse ground black pepper.

Steak au Poivre

I suppose you could create this in entrée size portions, but I've only done it as an amuse bouche or appetizer. This recipe makes a couple dozen tasty little bites! The photo's not was taken with my phone when I took these to a 'Fête de Noël' dinner party with my French ladies. :)

1 lb baby yellow potatoes (small Yukon Golds)
2 Tbl butter
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinkly sliced
1 Tbl fresh thyme
kosher salt and coarse ground pepper to taste
1½ tsp brown sugar
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1½ Tbl mixed peppercorns, crushed or ground
     (or use more coarse ground pepper)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 8-oz filet mignon steak (thick cut, and cut into 4 strips)
¼ C sour cream
vegetable oil, for frying

The day before serving, thinly slice the potatoes (about ¼"); place in bowl of water, refrigerate. Change water every 6-8 hours. (Potatoes will be crispier when fried.)

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in pan or pot over medium heat; cook onion, shallot, thyme until very soft (about 30 min). Season with salt and pepper; stir in brown sugar, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire, cooking about another 10 minutes until liquid has evaporated or been absorbed by onions. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine crushed peppercorns and 2 tsp kosher salt in a bowl. Toss steak with salt and crushed peppercorns to coat, pressing mixture into meat. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in skillet over medium high heat; cook steak to medium-rare, turning to brown on all sides. (Do not overcook steak -- especially if you plan to reheat just before serving!) Remove from heat onto cutting board; let rest 10 minutes.

While steak rests, drain potatoes and pat dry. Heat large pot with enough oil to cover potatoes. Fry potatoes in hot oil until golden brown on both sides, stirring and turning as needed. Remove from oil (to a rack set over a baking sheet, or onto paper towel...) season with salt. (Potatoes can be fried ahead and reheated in the oven just before assembling and serving.)

Thinly slice steak. Spoon and spread onion mixture onto each potato slice; top with a slice of steak, and a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with remaining crushed peppercorns.