It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… and for salad lovers with food allergies it’s perfectly possible to enjoy great food. This recipe is the best proof of that! Looks amazing, tastes exquisite and is free of 24 most common allergens!
A festive styling is used in this salad. Please don’t let the look fool you and it’s quite easy to do it yourself. Of course you can serve the salad in a more simple way as it will not affect the great taste!
Preparing the garnish
Peel the pumpkin and cut it into slices of about ½ cm thick. If necessary, use the cutters to cut out the circles (as large as possible) , so all slices are exactly the same size.
You'll need 3 slices of pumpkin per bouche amuse.
Use a small round cutter to cut out 3 tiny circles out of 2 out of every 3 slices. These little 'holes' you create is where you will later 'plant' the small mushrooms. Please make sure that these holes are slightly smaller than the stalks of the mushrooms. These will shrink slightly during baking and you want them to fit . Also, make sure that the holes are in the exact same place in both slices (per bouche amuse) . This sounds more complicated than it is, I assure you!
Heat a (dry ) grilling pan on the stove, brush all slices of pumpkin with a little olive oil. Then grill the slices of pumpkin on both sides until the pumpkin slices are cooked and show a nice grilling pattern on both sides. Set the pumpkin aside until further use. It is better to prepare this just shortly before serving. Otherwise, the pumpkin may become soggy.
Preparing the tapenade of chanterelle
Gently brush the chanterelles to clean them and cut them into small cubes. Chop the garlic clove and cut the Kalamata olives into small cubes, then chop the sunflower seeds leaving them rather coarse.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, gentle heat, and add the chanterelles and garlic. Stir-fry briefly on medium heat until they look glassy. Sprinkle over the salt and pepper and add the tangerine zest. Stir-fry briefly, but just long enough so the chanterelle is just cooked. The cubes should still look pretty. Remove the chanterelles mixture from the heat and add the olives and sunflower seeds.
Put the tapenade aside until further use. Serve the tapenade at room temperature. Do you wish to prepare the tapenade in advance? Store it in the refrigerator, but bring it to room temperature before serving.
Preparing the spicy stir fry of Brussels sprouts
Remove the outer skins of the Brussels sprouts if they do not look good. Cut the sprouts into fine strips. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the Brussels sprouts . Sprinkle with ground cumin and stir-fry briefly until just al dente. The Brussels sprouts should not be overcooked, and the strips should not lose form. Put the Brussels sprouts aside until further use. Serve the Brussels sprouts at room temperature. The preparation time is very short, so you can easily prepare this last minute.
Preparing the garden of small mushrooms
Brush the small mushrooms carefully, if necessary and cut the ends of the stalks off. You'll need 3 small mushrooms per bouche amuse.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms very gently in the olive oil. Add the brandy. Please note to fry the mushrooms until just tender but still in good shape. If the mushrooms bake too long, they will lose their shape and will not stand up straight. This may require some practice, but I have no doubt that you'll manage!
Remove the mushrooms from the pan and allow to drain on a kitchen towel.
Preparing the dressing
Mix together all ingredients and set aside for later use. If necessary, stir (or shake) well before use.
Choose plates or another surface to serve on. For example, I chose small shale slates on which I wrote a Christmas wish. Start with the bouche amuse under the glass:
Choose a few beautiful leaves of rocket lettuce and chervil and arrange them on the plate (or chosen surface). Put a slice of grilled pumpkin (without holes) on top and cover that with a small layer a stir fried Brussels sprouts. Top with the tapenade. Finally, stick a sprig of rosemary in the slice of pumpkin. This is purely decorative (imagine a Christmas tree).
Put an upside down wine glass over the amuse.
Now make the top part of the bouche amuse, on the base of the upside down wine glass: Again, start with some beautiful leaves of rocket lettuce. Arrange them so they sort of drape over the edge. Cover with a small layer a stir fried Brussels sprouts and drizzle some of the dressing on top. Now place the slices of pumpkin, making sure the holes are exactly aligned. Insert the small mushrooms into the holes and drizzle some of the dressing on top. Serve immediately!
Bon apetite & Merry Christmas!
Tips from the author
This recipe looks more complicated than it is, although it may take some extra time to prepare. Just follow the steps one by one and I’m sure you’ll manage. You will definitely taste this extra effort!
When preparing all steps one after another, you can use the same frying pan. Simply use a kitchen towel to clean the pan after each step.
Small mushrooms are available in both brown and white. Never pick them yourself, unless you’re an expert and have a permit to do so. You’ll find the mushrooms in green grocers with a selected product range.