A few weeks ago, Jon and I threw our second cocktail party at a wine store in Brooklyn. We served 6 canapes and had a great turnout of friends. Some of the recipes we did were reinventions of past BiteSized posts, but a few were new additions to our repertoire.
One of the new recipes we tried was at the suggestion of our friend and co-cook Sara, who took on the challenge of attempting Thomas Keller’s cornets from the French Laundry Cookbook. These delicate and elegant crackers were not easy to master, but once we had our system worked out, they were not as difficult as we feared. We realized that although it initially appeared to be a daunting task to produce 200 of these beasts, they were ultimately pretty simple and just required patience, a little organization, and some seasoned fingers (or at least ones that weren’t afraid to get a little burned).
Instead of salmon, we decided to use tuna and dressed it with a dressing of ginger, citrus and some spices. We served the cornets in bowls filled with dried peas, to make a light bite that represented the freshness of spring.
It was fun to follow someone else’s recipe. We’re always trying to come up with original recipes and ideas for every BiteSized post and sometimes it can be exhausting. I found it relaxing to follow someone else’s recipe. Fortunately for us, the recipe turned out well (it probably would have been less relaxing had we been less successful). In the future, we hope to incorporate more of these trial and error attempts at following recipes into our cooking for BiteSized!
For the Cornets:
(from the French Laundry Cookbook, makes about 36)
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
2 large egg whites, cold
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.
2. Whisk in butter until all ingredients are thoroughly combined and fluffy.
3. Whisk in egg whites and beat until smooth.
4. Using a 4-inch flat, circular stencil and an offset spatula, spread batter evenly onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Only spread out as many cornets as you have cornet molds.
5. Bake the cornets at 400º. You may have to adjust your oven temperature and cooking time depending on the particularities of your oven. My oven is old and finicky and I am constantly adjusting the temperature depending on its mood.
6. You need to bake the cornets 1/2 way through, then mold them around the cornet molds, and the finish the baking process. Once I got my oven and my cornet station going, it was about two minutes of initial baking time, followed by two minutes of baking time once the cornets were formed around the molds.
7. After the batter has baked for 2 minutes, remove the sheet tray from the oven and place it on the oven door. Using the heat of the door will make the cornets malleable while out of the oven. But move quickly to avoid losing too much heat!
8. Form the cornets around their molds using your offset spatula, a dry towel and brave fingers. If you’re doing a lot of these but only have a few molds, prepare to sweat. It will take some trial and error, but eventually you will work out a system and rhythm to making these delicate treats. ß
Ginger Citrus Dressing
(Makes ¼ cup)
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp water
1 finger length of ginger
Zest of ½ lemon
Zest of ½ lime
Zest of ½ orange
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Splash of sriracha
- Combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for a minute on low heat, then cool to room temperature.
(Makes 1 cup tartar)
8 oz sushi grade tuna
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp shallots, minced
Salt and pepper
Ginger Citrus Syrup (Recipe above)
- Dice tuna into small cubes. Mix with cooled ginger citrus syrup, chives, shallots, salt and pepper.
- Using a small spoon, gently put tartare into cornets and garnish with zest or herbs of your choosing. Serve immediately!
© 2011 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle