Monday, November 22, 2010

The Crown Jewel Affair: Nut Crusted Fried Brie with Pomegranate-Jalapeno Jelly

Welcome to the third in a series of posts recapping The Crown Jewel Affair, our POM Wonderful Dinner Party celebrating the commencement of the POM Wonderful Pomegranate Season! If you would like to start at the beginning of the party for a little background, please click here, and if you would like a Ginger Pomegranate Martini to go with this amazing hors d'oeuvre, please click here.

Now that you're sipping on your martini and feeling all warm and fuzzy by the fire, let me tell you about Nut Crusted Fried Brie and Pepper Jelly, a signature creation by Deborah Scott, Executive Chef and Partner of three fabulous San Diego Restaurants: Kemo Sabe, Indigo Grill, and Island Prime. This is a very simple appetizer to make, especially if you use store-bought pepper jelly, and it can be made in advance of your party. Just before you are ready to serve, you will just need to fry the brie for a few minutes, drain and transfer it to your serving platter, and add your pepper jelly. Serve with cracker bread, crackers or toasted baguette slices. Trust me, it's a keeper!

For The Crown Jewel Affair, I made my own pepper jelly using POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. I made two batches so I could include a little jar in each gift basket for my guests. I used a combination of jalapeno and serrano chiles, and the jelly was still fairly mild. If you like it hot, try using more serrano chiles. If you really like it hot, use a habanero in the mix!

Nut Crusted Fried Brie with Pomegranate-Jalapeno Jelly
A signature dish from Chef Deborah Scott, San Diego
Slightly adapted from Fried Brie with Nut Crust, Bon Appetit, November 1999

2 8-ounce wedges Brie
1/3 cup pepitas
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup pecans
(you can use any combination of nuts you desire to total 1 cup)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream

Peanut oil (for frying)
Pomegranate-Jalapeno Jelly (recipe below)
Cracker Bread, crackers, or toasted baguette slices

Freeze Brie for 30 minutes. Finely chop all nuts and sesame seeds in food processor. Transfer to medium bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk eggs and cream to blend. Remove Brie from from freezer and cut each 8-ounce wedge into 3 equal wedges, yielding a total of 6 wedges. Dip each wedge into egg mixture and then into nut mixture, turning to coat and pressing gently to adhere. Transfer to plate; cover with plastic and refrigerate until very cold, at least 45 minutes. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Pour enough peanut oil into heavy large skillet to reach depth of 1 1/2 inches. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350°F. Working in two batches, fry Brie until deep golden brown, turning once with metal spatula, about 3 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve with Pomegranate-Jalapeno jelly and cracker bread or baguette slices.

Pomegranate-Jalapeno Jelly

4 cups POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 jalapeno chiles, seeded and chopped
4 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
4 teaspoons powdered pectin (I used Pomona's Universal Pectin)
4 teaspoons calcium water (preparation instructions provided with Pectin)
3 cups sugar

Place pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and chopped chiles in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Strain the juice and return it to the saucepan.  Discard the chiles.  Add calcium water to the strained juice mixture and bring back to a boil.

Mix pectin powder with sugar.  Add pectin-sugar mixture to boiling juice and stir vigorously 1-2 minutes while cooking to dissolve pectin.  Return to a boil and remove from heat.  Pour into decorative serving bowl and/or fill small jars.  If desired, add some fresh pomegranate seeds and finely mined fresh chiles to the serving bowl and/or jars prior to pouring in the hot jelly.  Alternatively, garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds and thinly sliced chiles prior to serving.

Serve with Nut Crusted Fried Brie, and cracker bread or toasted baguette slices

A little extra gift for my special guests, added to their POM Wonderful Gift Baskets


1 comment:

Mom said...

My favorite appetizer! Topping the paper-thin, cracker bread with the pine nut crusted fried brie and ruby red pomegranate jalapeno jelly perfumed with sweet spices, stands out not only for its unlikely flavor profile but also for its beauty. It is so good and definitely a keeper!