This past summer, we were lucky enough to spend a day and night at the Morgan Ranch, a private inholding in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. What an incredible experience and the owners, Mary Dee and Allen Dodge, and their daughter, Rachel, are such lovely people and fabulous hosts. And, Mary Dee is an amazing cook as well! For appetizers, she served us very tasty garlic custards and for all the world they looked like little rounds of Boursin cheese to me, as they sat on the serving plate amongst the endive leaves and crackers. I was so surprised when I dug into the custard and spread it on my cracker because it had such a beautifully soft texture. And then there was the taste! It was such a subtle flavor and much lighter than cheese. What a great idea, I thought!
Of course, as I do, I went home and took a stab at making them for my next dinner guests, opting to use roasted shallots and finely minced jalapeno in place of the garlic, along with a bit of grated Parmesan cheese. These are so much fun and an unusual twist on the cheese and cracker platter! You can use roasted garlic, roasted shallots, or even roasted red onions for different flavor profiles in the custards. Top them with a simple vinaigrette, some diced garden-fresh tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts.
Roasted Shallot Jalapeno Custard
- 2 shallots peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 clove garlic peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 jalapeno seeded and very finely diced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 whole egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- Vinaigrette recipe below
Garnishes: diced garden fresh tomatoes, basil leaves, toasted pine nuts
- Whisk together:
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- Preheat oven to 300 F.Place shallots and garlic in a piece of foil, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and white pepper.Wrap tightly and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until shallots and garlic are cooked through and just beginning to brown.Remove from oven and cool.When cool, process shallots and garlic until smooth.
- Meanwhile, grease five 4-ounce ramekins (3-3 1/2 inch in diameter) with butter and then spray with PAM.Set in a 9×13 casserole dish or baking pan with at least 2-inch high sides.Either keep oven at 300F or preheat again, if you decided to prepare the shallot/garlic mixture ahead of time.
- Place all ingredients, including pureed shallots and garlic, in a mixing bowl and whisk until well-blended.Pour custard into prepared ramekins in the 9×13 pan.Very carefully pour water into the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins, being very careful not to splash any water into the custards.With steady hands, place casserole dish in oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.Allow custards to sit for 10 minutes or so, before inverting them onto the serving plate.(They may need a little cajoling to get out by running a knife around the edges of the ramekin or a solid slap with your hand to the bottom of the ramekin)
- Garnish custards with chopped tomatoes, pine nuts and a basil sprig.Drizzle vinaigrette over the top.Serve with sliced baguette, crackers or endive leaves.