Jan Bilton's American snacks
When I first visited the USA as a youngster, lamb was not generally served in homes or restaurants. It was considered a cheap meat and relegated to soup bases or sausages. The smell of lamb cooking was not appreciated. Nowadays, lamb is enjoyed in the best eateries served as racks, or slow-cooked and pulled, in Moroccan delights and Mexican makeovers.
One of the more traditional American dishes, hush puppies — fritters made from cornmeal, milk, water and chopped onion — were frequently served as a hearty side dish with seafood and barbecues. However, some chefs have transformed these into petite morsels, sometimes flavoured with truffles, to serve as starters or as nibbles with drinks.
Modern American cuisine has become — much as ours has — a blend or fusion of flavours and ingredients from foreign countries combined with their own traditional dishes. There’s a use of innovative sauces and seasonings including rudiments from the Mediterranean, Asia and Latin America. Barbecued chicken can be rubbed with Moroccan spices where once it might have been pineapple juice; fermented Korean kimchi is served in burgers in place of lettuce; and seafood is served with lovage pesto — a nod to Italy.
And there’s a nod also to a healthier cuisine: cheesecakes are becoming mini treats; fresh fruits can be the hero on the plate; and organic vegetables are showcased on menus.
This starter recipe is based on one from exec chef Niels Naumann at Hamilton’s modern American eatery, Ember. Niels uses truffles — I’ve used chorizo. Get the recipe
This recipe uses fresh limes. Mini cheesecake pans are available from many kitchenware stores. Get the recipe
Can be baked in one large or two smaller dishes to provide two people with two meals. Get the recipe