Tripping Over Tapas
Be it the want of the modern-day diner to try it all or the after-effect of the downsizing syndrome, the truth is that small plates have made it tremendously popular on the dining circuit. While last year the world saw the rise of small plates on restaurant menus within most cuisines, this year, the trend has slowly crept on to pre-wedding fare. From canapé-laden bachelorette spreads to daintily-dressed bridal shower trolleys – pecking carelessly on bite-sized appetisers seems like the ‘it’ thing to do.
According to Chef Kshama Prabhu from The White Owl, “Small or shared plates have existed in every culture.” From Italian anti-pasti, Spanish tapas to Mediterranean mezze – each cuisine has its version of the first course of the meal. She says, “With the rise of food aficionados and the desire to extract maximum out of each meal, the phenomena of small plate dining has caught on dining menus so much so that some guests like to make a meal out of them.”
At her newly launched Lower Parel-based bistro, Chef Prabhu serves an array of shared platters that range from meat and seafood skewers, pick-able cheese dumplings, pre-cut corn on the cob, bruschetta and many more that appeal to a bridal brigade hitting an eatery to stack up at the start of a girls’ night out.
Similarly, when it comes to pre-wedding house parties, many brides and grooms to-be are opting for small bites over heavy main course dishes. Chef Joshua D’Souza from Silverspoon Gourmet says, “Most couples have at least four to five functions. So rather than making each celebration all about elaborate lunches and dinners, it’s wise to fill up smaller occasions such as showers and mehendi functions by serving a whole lot of appetisers only. This is absolutely fuss-free in terms of eating and serving. Secondly, it keeps the host free to meet and greet instead of constantly re-heating and plating up.”
HOUSE CORN ON THE COB
Ingredients for the corn: Whole corn on the cob, 1 no; Chilli powder, 1 tsp; Cooking oil, ½ tsp; Butter, 1 tbsp; Grated grana padano cheese, 1 tbsp (for garnish); Salt as per taste.
Ingredients for the salsa: Fresh tomato, 1 no; Juice of one lemon (freshly squeezed), Green chilli (roasted), 1 no; Salt as per taste.
Method: Heat water in a pot and tip the whole corn into it. Blanch it for about five minutes and strain. Cut it into three equal pieces. In a bowl, mix the oil with chilli powder, salt and glaze the par-boiled corn pieces with it. Allow it to rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile, make salsa by chopping tomatoes into small dices. Add lemon juice, salt and finely chopped roasted chilli and mix well. Adjust seasoning and allow the salsa to chill for a few hours. Now grill the marinated corn on an indoor barbeque stand or your kitchen stove until it chars well from all the sides. Brush it with butter and pour chilled tomato salsa on top. Garnish with grana padano and serve.
Tip: Apart from tomato salsa, you can also place an array of dips and sauces for your guests to pick and choose from. Try jalapeno salsa, red pepper salsa, mixed vegetable relish, garlic mayonnaise.
(Recipe by Chef Kshama Prabhu from The White Owl)
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