When I came to America to reopen Maxim’s restaurant in Chicago, a supplier sent me iced tea spoons for the restaurant. In France, we don’t drink iced tea, so I had no idea what they were. But I thought the long handles were elegant, and when I opened Everest in Chicago, I created different flavors to serve in the spoons as amuse-bouches. We became famous for the spoons, but after many years of serving them at Everest, I decided to offer them exclusively at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Now, when people who have been long-time guests at Everest visit us in Las Vegas, they are reunited with the spoons.
For the cauliflower and caviar spoons
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
White peppercorns in a pepper grinder
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 ounce osetra caviar
For the smoked salmon spoons
6 ounces smoked salmon
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dill sprigs for garnish
Salmon roe for garnish
For the roquefort and walnut spoons
1 cup (5 ounces) crumbled Roquefort cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons Gewürztraminer wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
20 black walnut halves, toasted (see Note)
Make the cauliflower and caviar spoons
1. Pour the water into an 2-quart saucepan. Add the cauliflower and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and return it to the pan. Cook the cauliflower over medium heat, stirring gently, for about 5 minutes to evaporate as much moisture as possible.
2. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth, turning off the blender and scraping down the sides several times, if necessary, to ensure an even, creamy consistency. Blend in the crème fraîche. Transfer the purée to a bowl and season with salt to taste and 6 grinds of white pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
3. Before serving, whip the cream in a deep bowl and fold it into the purée. Place the cauliflower mousse in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round pastry tip. Pipe the mousse into each of 12 regular or iced tea spoons, and top each serving with a little caviar.
Make the smoked salmon spoons
1. In a food processor, combine the salmon, shallot, horseradish, crème fraîche, white pepper, and salt. Purée until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
2. Before serving, whip the cream in a deep bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Fold it into the purée. Spoon the mousse into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round pastry tip. Pipe the mousse into 12 regular or iced tea spoons, and top each serving with a dill sprig and a little salmon roe.
Make the roquefort and walnut spoons
1. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, and wine. Cover and process until smooth. With the machine running, gradually add the cream until smooth.
2. Spoon the mousse into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round pastry tip. Pipe the mousse into 12 regular or iced tea spoons and garnish each with a black walnut half.
Note: To toast the nuts spread the nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. If they need more time, remember to keep checking them every minute; it only takes a moment for them to go from perfectly toasted to burnt.
Recipe © 2008 French Cafe LLC. All rights reserved.