Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Whilst working at Hotel de Crillon in Paris, France, we served an appetizer that was composed of fresh steamed asparagus dipped in a smoked salmon gelee, with small Bellini pancakes, caviar and orange/lime/radish zest. I had never made bellinis before, but quickly mastered the technique, due to “survival of the fittest.” A bellini is simply a small pancake… not quite as thin as a French crepe, but not as large as an American pancake. Generally, Bellinis are roughly the size of a quarter; however, in Crillion, we made the bellinis about the shape of a dime. In order to make a plethora of bellinis at one time, simply pour the batter into a squeeze bottle, then heat an iron-skillet on medium heat. Squeeze dime-sized circles of batter onto the hot iron, moving from the left to the right of the pan (in the same manner as reading a novel). This will allow you to remember which bellinis you started to cook first (as the cast-iron pan will be filled with small dots as you continue to create more and more bellinis). Race against time, as the small pancakes cook incredibly quickly. Simply flip with a small pastry spatula when the batter begins to “bubble” on the top. Bellini should be golden brown on both sides when fully cooked.

Now… what to do with said bellinis. To be honest, they are used more typically as a garnish/accoutrement with caviar/smoked, dried fish/asparagus, crème fraiche and chives. Often, the bite will be compromised of a sweet/savory aspect… for example, sweet being the bellini, savory being the salty caviar. In terms of presentation, play with modern ideas. Remember, if white plates are not available, make do with what is… there is always a solution to everything (my chefs would repeat that in culinary school, “c’est toujours une solution!”). Pictured is beet coulis (the small purple dots), smoked salmon wrapped around asparagus, bellinis with crème fraiche and caviar… a light, cool appetizer to begin a meal. Remember to saver each bite and take your time when dining… whenever possible, share meals with loved ones… it makes for a much more pleasant experience when laughter and joy can also be incorporated into the meal. For me, it is the company that I am with that will always far outshine the food…

Love y’all! ♥

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