This week I treated myself to Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook. I’ve been coveting it since I first saw it when we went to Napa as part of our honeymoon (Napa IS my spiritual home!), during a wine tour we went past The French Laundry gardens, where they grow all their own produce for the restaurant, including baby lambs. It was a sight to behold! The French Laundry is regarded as one of the world’s finest restaurants, I am planning my visit!
Now, I don’t pretend for one second I can recreate any of these dishes like they do in the restaurant, in fact, the book is so beautiful I think it will remain on my coffee table rather than on my kitchen work top! What it is great for, is inspiration. On my first foray into the pages I came across Keller’s parmesan crisps. Super simple and easy to make.
In this recipe I have layered some strong flavours and honestly, these treats are gorgeous! They taste like spring! Serve at a dinner party with some bubbles, or do what I did, bake them up on a dreary grey day for a light tasting treat. They aren’t brittle, meaning you can scoop them straight into your face with no mess!
- 60g grated parmesan (don’t use the pre-grated stuff as it’s too dry)
- 4 stems of fine asparagus
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 125g goats cheese
- a good sprinkle of cracked black pepper
- 1 spring onion
Pre-heat the oven to 180º.
Line a baking tray with baking paper, and put in two teaspoons of the freshly grated parmesan into a 3″ chef’s ring (you can do this by hand if you don’t have any small rings). Spread the parmesan evenly over the surface. Repeat until you have 8 circles of parmesan, leave a good gap between each circle. Put them in the oven for 8 minutes.
Keep your eye on the parmesan circles, don’t let them colour like this….
…they will taste burnt! I had to do a whole new batch! They need to retain the original colour of the parmesan – they may look uncooked, but don’t let them fool you!
When they are ready, use a spatula to gently lift them off of the sheet and place them on a rolling pin to curl them. At this stage they are still soft, work quickly.
While they cool, put the asparagus in to a med-hot pan (no oil). I like to use a griddle so that you get the sear lines. Cook for about 5 mins until soft.
In a small bowl, mix together the tomato puree and lemon juice until combined.
In another bowl mix together the goats cheese with a good sprinkling of cracked black pepper.
Now time to put in all together!
First place a small dollop (you really don’t need much!) of the tomato sauce on to the middle of each crisp and spread with the back of a teaspoon. Next cut the asparagus in half lengthways, and then in half again. Lay two strips onto the top of the tomato sauce. Using two table spoons, take a small scoop of goats cheese and style into a quenelle (mine are far from perfect!) and place on top of the asparagus. Finish with a few thin slices of spring onion – I used the greener parts of the onion so they are not an overpowering taste.
This will keep in the fridge for around 5-6 hours.
And there you go – some super tasty canapés inspired by one of the world’s best restaurants!