Aspic is a clear meat, fish, or poultry jelly. Aspic is a clear meat, fish, or poultry jelly. Aspic is a clear meat, fish, or poultry jelly. Try saying that ten times fast. Last week, I started Garde Manger, which is a class entirely devoted to the production and buffet-style presentation of cold foods. Garde Manger literally means "keeper of food to be eaten" and in the olden days was a way of preserving foods by curing, drying, smoking, etc. In our class we are not only putting together aspic-covered platters laden with various forcemeats (a ground seasoned food product... think sausage, bologna, salami, pâté, even meatloaf or chocolate mousse are technically forcemeats), but we will be doing ice carvings as well as presenting a variety of hors d'oeuvres.
There is so much information to learn in this class, and we have been lucky enough to be allowed to come to class almost an hour early (that's 6:10 am, folks) to attend additional study sessions with our chef and also get started early on our production for the day, depending on what the agenda is. I have honestly learned SO MUCH from this class already, and we still have four more days to go! The hard part is taking that book smarts and critical thinking and applying it under pressure to what you are trying to do. Sometimes you can make stupid mistakes. We all made mistakes these couple of days, but at least we are (hopefully) wiser for it and will avoid the same mishaps when we are making platters for our practical exam these upcoming two days. Overall, I am pleased with the way our platters looked, especially considering some of the problems various groups faced. I honestly think everything looked fairly appetizing... until we covered it all with aspic :) But alas, that is what show work is all about and at least we are learning the proper way to do it.
Green scallop mousse atop croutons
Our salmon pâté that we made yesterday and served today on our platter
Our salmon platter (Salmon Pâté, Baked Fillet of Salmon, Garbanzo Bean Salad, Green Scallop Mousse, and Dijonnaise Sauce--not pictured)
Beef platter (Smoked Tenderloin of Beef with a Whole-Grain Mustard Crust, Beef Tenderloin and Andouille Sausage Terrine, Roasted Red Pepper Sausage, Roasted Red Bliss Potato Salad, Poppy Seed Bouchée with Red Onions and Cauliflower Marmalade, and Green Herb Mayonnaise--not pictured)
Lobster platter (Trout Pâté, Lobster Centerpieces with Lobster Medallions, Trout Bow Tie Pasta Salad with Lump Crabmeat, Crusted Lemon Crackers with Pistachio Boursin Cheese Rolls, and Mango Salsa--not pictured)
Pork platter (Smoked Boneless Center Cut Pork Loin Roast with El Paso Rub, Cured Pork Tenderloin in a Cinnamon Honey Crust, Pork Pâté with Broccoli Inlay, Jicama Slaw, Blue Corn Tortillas with Black Bean and Jalapeno Jack Cheese Salsa, and Dark Sweet Cherry and Ginger Sauce--not pictured)
Turkey platter (Stuffed Breast of Turkey, Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Pâté, Smoked Breast of Turkey, Strawberry Waldorf Salad, Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, and Pear and Cranberry Chutney--not pictured)
Veal platter (Roasted Veal Loin with Amaretto Glaze, Veal Tenderloin, Veal Bratwurst Wrapped in Caul Fat, Israeli Couscous Salad, Roasted Green Asparagus with Parsley Chili Oil, Broccoli Mousse Barquettes, and Raspberry Cream--not pictured)
Venison platter (Veal and Ham Pie, Roasted Venison Loin with Red Pepper Mousse, Garnished with Apricots and Currants, Grilled Portobello and Roasted Plum Tomato Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette, Ham Mousse Tartlets, and Horseradish Sour Cream Sauce--not pictured)