Bastardized from the french term ‘amouz-bouche’, which literally means amuse-the-mouth, the amuse-bouche is a small dish which can be eaten in one or two bites. In a fine french restaurant, it is a complimentry course served after you order your food but before the food that you ordered arrives. Its purpose is to reduce the idle time while your order is being prepared. Its sort of like a hors d’ oeuvre, except only one is served per person and you can’t pick which one. They are almost always served cold as they are usually prepared in advance.
Because of their small stature, greater attention is given to appearance, and amuse-bouches are served on such things as oriental porcelain spoons or glass tiles. In the home setting, you can use less ornate crockery such as shot glasses or expresso cups.
Some ideas for an amuse-bouche are smoked meat, raw or seared tuna, savoury jelly, mini terrine slices, small quantities of rich soups. You can also serve 3 amuse-bouche together (ie a trio) as a full appitizer, especially if they are made under a common theme.
- The other complimentry courses in fine French dining are sherbet (sorbet) served before your main course, and petits fours served after you ask for the bill.