A while back a couple of my favorite bloggers introduced me to verrines. I'd never heard of them before and since have discovered they've been quite popular in Europe for several years. We must be a tad behind in the U.S. because a search for books on the subject didn't yield much, although I did finally find a a gem of a book simply entited "Verrines". It's in French, so I'll have to depend on a few food blogger friends from Europe and my daughter, who speaks the language fluently.
Verrines can be just about anything: appetizer, salad or dessert. For my trial run I chose an appetizer verrine. Now I don't have the adorable glasses that Kate and the book have, but used a small glass coffee cup. It seemed the perfect size for an appetizer as savory as this. I loved the way it turned out and served it the same night. Everyone was so enthusiastic!
After looking through the book more thoroughly it occurred to me that many of these verrines actually looked like deconstructed salads, appetizers and desserts. I had been introduced to deconstruction of dishes on a TV show called Top Chef. Why not try it with a dessert verrine? So I made a dish I have been meaning to post anyway called Eton Mess. And deconstructed it in the brandy glass so when it's served, everyone can stir it all together and make the "mess" they're supposed to make! Eton Mess- for those of you who haven't heard of it- originated at one of England's most famous public schools, Eton. As I understand, it is served during their prize-giving ceremonies. I think this translates perfectly into a dessert verrine.
Enjoy my two successful experiments, take another look at your glassware, think about what recipes you could showcase in some of them and go for it! Be sure to let us know all about your creative endeavors!
Verrine À l'italienne
Verrine À l'italienne
Adapted from Verrines by José Maréchal
60 grams (2 ounces) of black olive tapenade
50 grams (1.6 ounces) pesto
60 grams (2 ounces) sun dried tomatoes
large ball of Buffalo mozzarella
Cut the tomatoes into quarters, remove seeds and dice. Mix the tomatoes with the sun dried tomatoes in a food processor and process.
Cut thin slices of mozzarella with a cookie cutter that is exactly the size of your container.
To finish your verrine, layer tapenade, a slice of mozzarella, the tomato mixture, another slice of mozzarella and top it off with pesto. Serve with breadsticks.
Eton Mess Verrine
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Cook with Jamie
1 basic meringue recipe (or buy some ready-made)
1 pint whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, scored and seeds removed
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon rosewater
Have your meringues prepared in advance. Whip the cream with the vanilla seeds. Soft peaks are good enough, you don’t need it to get too stiff. Take half the fruit, mash it in a bowl with sugar, balsamic vinegar and rosewater. The other half I sliced and added a touch of sugar. Smash the meringues into smallish chunks. Bring out your glasses and layer as follows: some of the crushed fruit, some crushed meringue, some whipped cream and then some of the sliced berries. Continue until your verrine is filled and top with a nice strawberry.