Ok, ‘Verrines’ is a word for a’ bit’ a’ food in a glass…but it took France by storm a few years back and I can see why. Their fresh and often concentrated flavour as well as their delicate textures never fail to titillate my taste buds. Without mentioning that they are presented in a see-though glass so that their vibrant colours can entice you before you even know what is actually in it.
They are served as an ‘amuse-bouche’ for an aperitif or as a starter, or even as a dessert bite just to finish on something sweet when a pudding is not suitable.
To me, they are reminiscent of summer, mainly because many of my friends serve them when I go over to France in August, and a great way of stretching the season as far as I can take it. I have always favoured starters (and desserts…) over main courses because I prefer a smaller portion of something really tasty rather than a large portion of the same thing. And so making several types of ‘verrines’ allows me to do just that – take several bites into a carousel of flavours.
Clearly they are perfect for dinner parties. They are easy to make for many people (since they are made in small quantities), easy to eat standing up (even if you do need two hands as you scoop out the deliciousness) as well as a great talking point.
But mainly, they are just tasty, and I am a ‘gourmande’.
The other advantage of the verrines is that anyone can make their own as the permutations of flavours are limitless. If you know of a combination of up to three ingredients that works well, put them in a little glass. Just make sure you can eat it with a spoon, that it is not too sloppy and that it doesn’t need spreading on something! Oh, and that it packs a punch.
Here are just some ideas to get some people started, which I used to fill a variety of little shot glasses I got from a certain large Swedish store…