Herbed butter is my secret weapon for apéritif nibbles.
It’s just about as chic as it is easy to make: you get the best artisan butter you can find and afford, allow it to soften slightly, and add flaky salt along with finely chopped fresh herbs. Chives, flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, chervil, basil, dill… If you can mix and match, so much the butter, uh, better.
Once ready, this green-flecked butter is the ideal binder to bring together the base and topping for ultra simple but very attractive canapés. This is assembly cooking at its best: slices from a fresh, slim baguette and halved pink radishes; crunchy cucumber rounds topped with a small roll of cooked ham; or squares of pumpernickel bread and sliced scallops.
The lightly nubby pumpernickel bread, the creamy herbed butter, and the slippery, silky scallops come together for a fresh and delicate two-bite savory treat.
Coquilles Saint-Jacques are no doubt my favorite kind of shellfish, and I particularly enjoy their sweet and subtly briny flavor when they’re raw — perhaps you’ve encountered them as hotate sushi before. In France, fishmongers sell live scallops that they’ll shuck to order, so you’re assured of their freshness; if that’s not an option, make sure you get sushi-grade scallops*.
And since scallops don’t come cheap, I save them for special occasions — holiday meals in particular — and I make sure the recipe I feature them in will allow their looks and taste to shine brightly.
Here, I’ve chosen to pair them with clean flavors and complementary textures: the lightly nubby pumpernickel bread, the creamy herbed butter, and the slippery, silky scallops come together for a fresh and delicate two-bite savory treat that I like to serve with a chilled Muskadig.
Tell me everything !
What are some of your favorite pairings for simple crostini that you can serve with a pre-dinner drink or as part of a chic buffet? And have you started thinking about your holiday menus, or is it way too soon for you, in which case please don’t let me freak you out?
* And if still you’re not comfortable eating your scallops raw, just sear them for a minute on one side in a lightly oiled skillet.