This amazing amuse-gueule (which means something like palate-opener in French) was devised by Joel Robuchon at the great Parisian restaurant Jamin
1/2 cup firmly packed raw cauliflower flowerets
1/4 medium waxy potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 pint heavy cream
6 ounces top-grade caviar (we like osetra)
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and potato. Boil until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Drain the vegetables, then pass them through a very fine sieve (like a tamis) 2 times.
2. Place the mixture in a small, heavy saucepan over moderately high heat and dry it out for 2 to 3 minutes. (Do not allow it to burn.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill until very cold.
3. Whip the cream until it's light and firm. fold whipped cream carefully into cold cauliflower mixture, preserving the airiness of the cream if possible. Chill until very cold.
4. When ready to serve, place one sixteenth of the caviar in each of 8 cups or glasses. Top each with one eighth of the cold cauliflower cream. Top each with the remaining one sixteenth of caviar. Chill until very cold and serve.
This amazing amuse-gueule (which means something like palate-opener in French) was devised by Joel Robuchon at the great Parisian restaurant Jamin (now closed). The dish has been copied, but not too widely -- because the original recipe was pretty complicated, having included lobster jelly along with everything else. But we think the jelly is not necessary, that the soul of this dish is the brilliant blending of airy cauliflower purée with caviar; the mostly bland, slightly earthy cauliflower creates one of the best backdrops for caviar that we know. Serve it to 8 lucky guests at the start of your next dinner party; it should be the first thing they eat after sitting down. You may serve it in little egg cups, or any pretty tiny cups -- even cracked egg halves will do. Or you may serve it it in tiny glasses, which will enable your guests to see the layering of the ingredients from the side. Serves 8 as a very small first course