Hummus, Smoked Oyster & Honey Toasted Pecan Amuse-Bouche Recipe
Dinner party time! On October 19, My friend Annika of Social Bites asked me to host a dinner party for her event called #DinnerPartyYVR. Thirty Vancouverites volunteered to cook dinner for 4-6 random strangers who bought tickets to the event online. The charities were pre selected by the hosts and 100% of the proceeds went to the charity of the diner’s choice. I was hesitant to take on the responsibility, but was happy to support friends and The Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society which was my chosen charity.
Being crazy busy at the time I couldn’t have done it without a trusty “sous chef”, and who better than to turn to but my reliable and talented official recipe tester, Brenda. I’ve cooked with her lots and she knows my cooking style. It’s very “go with the flow” and free style, but thankfully my untested recipes ended up working! (Well at least that’s what our guests said).
My DinnerPartyYVR “Land & Sea” Menu
Click the course for the full recipe.
Dessert: Hosted by third parties.
The amuse bouche was actually a spur of the moment creation. I had a can of smoked oysters generously donated by Organic Ocean and I was planning to bring them to my mom, but decided to use them here. I didn’t even know what I was going to do with them, but opened Annika’s fridge (where I hosted the dinner) and saw Yummus hummus. The maker of the hummus is my friend Yash, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to feature his product if it worked with the smoked oysters, and it did! It worked wonderfully.
I’m also a huge fan of texture so I wanted something crispy and crunchy and then decided to use crispy mint leaves and honey toasted pecans. Luckily Annika had pecans in her pantry, so everything came together last minute, but smoothly. I love sweet and savoury so that’s why I decided to toast the pecans in honey. The mint leaves were a garnish for my main entree, but it worked for crispiness and it was more for texture than flavour.
It was an eclectic “recipe” I’ve never tried before and it didn’t take any real “cooking” and all I did was think of interesting ingredients to put together. However, it actually ended up being one of my guests’s favourite courses. One bite wonders tend to do that and it’s also why I love them. You have them first when you’re hungry and it’s one bite you savour and remember… if it’s good at least.
Anyway, Brenda (@mightyvanilla) wrote the following and helped me write my recipe which happened spontaneously in “real time” so I’ve only tried it once.
The French term of “amuse-bouche” is translated as ‘amuse the mouth’ and is similar to an hors d’oeuvre except that it’s smaller, just one or two bites. Restaurants serve them to guests as a whimsical introduction to the meal and to express the chef’s approach to cuisine in a distilled form. They are also great for dinner parties and don’t require a lot of work if the ingredients are of high quality. Not everything has to be made from scratch either. Vancouver has some excellent food products made by passionate people and it’s fun to experiment with them in creative ways.
When devising an amuse-bouche, it’s good to strive for different tastes, textures and colours. And since there is only one or two bites, the flavours should be quite intense. After all, it’s the first bite of food that the guests are going to taste.
Organic Ocean had generously provide the seafood for our Social Bites #dinnerpartyYVR and one of the items was a tin of Fanny Bay smoked oysters from Denman Island. We weren’t originally planning an amuse-bouche but this was a dinner party and Mijune was inspired to make something with the oysters on the spot.
Spoons are often used to serve amuse-bouches so something soft was needed to anchor the oyster to the spoon – a scoop of Yummus hummus did the trick. Pecan halves were quickly toasted in a frying pan and very lightly coated in honey. We had extra fried mint leaves from the main course (stay tuned!) and that was added to the spoons for colour and additional texture. The oysters were smoky and briny, there was a creamy smoothness from the Yummus, the pecans had crunch and sweetness, and the mint was crisp and colourful – all in one bite.
Hummus, Smoked Oysters & Honey Toasted Pecan Amuse-Bouche
Serves 8 as an amuse-bouche
- 1 small tin (2.5oz) of Fanny Bay smoked oysters
- ⅓ cup of Yummus hummus (or smoky hummus of your choice)
- 8 pecan halves
- ¼ tsp honey
- 8 fried mint leaves
Notes for success
- The pecans and fried mint leaves can be prepared ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for several days.
- Forming the hummus into a rough quenelle shape before placing them on the serving spoons makes for a nicer presentation and a more even layer of hummus before adding the pecan, smoked oyster and mint leaf.
- The amuse-bouche can be assembled ahead of time and kept in the fridge for several hours until ready to serve.
- For the fried mint leaves, deep fry them in a small pot of oil at 325F for 30 seconds to a 1 minute until they have changed to a dark green colour, then drain onto paper towels. Alternatively, follow the microwave technique from Modernist Cuisine.
Toast the pecan halves over medium heat in a non-stick pan for several minutes until they smell nutty and fragrant. Keep them moving in the pan to prevent burning. Remove the pan from the heat and add the honey, stirring to coat the nuts evenly. Allow the pecans to cool.
Lay out 8 large spoons on a serving plate.
Using two small teaspoons, form a small scoop of hummus into a rough quenelle shape before transferring the hummus to one of the large spoons. Repeat for the rest of the large spoons.
Place a toasted honey pecan half at the top of each scoop of hummus, and a piece of smoked oyster on the bottom half. Place a fried mint leave between each the smoked oyster and pecan half.
Serve to dinner guests as they arrive.