Appetizers that Wow!
A special evening was planned and I wanted to create an unusual appetizer. My evening was to be a party with friends to watch the Oscars, but I am sure you have had many special evenings planned that called for something a bit more “high-end” than a charcuterie platter. My Spicy Black Bean Torte was the perfect appetizers to serve with champagne! For something even more whimsical, I added my Anchovy Cashew Cheese Tarts.
There are three parts to making this appetizer, but they can all be done in advance, even a day in advance, and assembled just before serving. Each is easy!
- Spicy Black Bean Paste
- Lemon-Spinach Glaze
Let’s get started!
Spicy Black Bean Paste Ingredients: (In a pinch, you can swap out the dry beans for canned.)
- Raw black beans – 1 pound
- Salt – 1 tablespoon
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Hot chili peppers – ¼ teaspoon dried flakes or 1 tablespoon freshly chopped
- Garlic – 2 cloves
- Teriyaki Sauce – 1 tablespoon
Place all the ingredients, except teriyaki sauce, in a pot of boiling water, (about 6-8 cups). Cover and lower to a simmer. Simmer about an hour, or until the beans are soft. Cool. Add teriyaki sauce. Puree. Your paste is ready to use when you are! Store in the fridge.
Crepes Ingredients: (batter makes about 8-10 crepes)
- Rice flour – 1 cup
- Eggs – 2
- Milk – 1 cup
- Butter – 1 tablespoon, melted
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
Place all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or use a mixer.
Mix one minute. Place batter in fridge for one hour.
When ready to make the crepes, lightly oil (or butter) a non-stick pan. Pour about ¼ a cup of batter into the center of the hot pan, and whirl the pan around to spread the batter thin. (video above examples this method)
As soon as you see little bubbles forming on top, flip it over for just a few seconds, then remove. Crepes cook very fast so don’t take your eyes off them! Lay each crepe out (unstacked) to cool completely.
Once cooled, stack the crepes with parchment paper between each layer, store in an air tight baggie/container until ready to assemble.
Lemon Spinach Glaze Ingredients: (We are looking to use only the concentrated juice from the spinach. You can save the cooked spinach to use in a quiche, omelette, or toss into a soup.)
- Spinach – 1 pound, freshly steamed
- Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
- Garlic – 1 clove, crushed
- Salt – 2 teaspoons
- Cornstarch – 1teaspoon and 2 teaspoons water to dissolve
To steam the spinach, simply toss the entire pound into a pot of boiling water just long enough to wilt the leaves. (about 20 seconds)
Place the spinach in a blender or processor. Add the lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Puree.
Strain as much of the concentrated juice from this mixture, making sure to press down on the spinach while it drains. We want to extract as much of the juice from the spinach as possible.
Place the juice in a small pan and heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in the 2 teaspoons of cold water. Stir fast. It thickens quickly. Add the cornstarch mixture to the heated spinach juice and stir, stir, stir! It will thicken quickly. Take the thickened spinach juice off the heat as soon as it looks the thickness of a gravy. (This happens in about one minute) Cool. Transfer to a squirt bottle to drizzle across the finished torte, or simply drizzle with a fork.
In the video above you will best see how to assemble the crepes into a torte. Spread the Black Bean Paste onto each crepe layer, making sure to go all the way to the edges. Stack five layers of crepes with paste, leaving the top crepe without paste. (This can also be done a few hours before serving.)
Cut the torte into long rectangular slices, about ¾ inch wide. When ready to serve, place the slices on a platter, making sure to expose the lovely layers.
Drizzle the spinach glaze across the tops.