Food is warm when you’ve finished cooking it, but keeping it warm if you’re not ready to serve yet is another matter altogether. Few of us have the luxury of a built in electric food warmer drawer in our kitchens and while the much maligned hostess trolley is making a long overdue comeback, not everyone has the space for one of these. Wares of Knutsford’s compact two of three light warmer trays are a compact and practical alternative – easy to use, easy to clean, easy to store and beautifully economical.
Using a food warmer tray
A Food warmer tray is particularly useful in two distinct cases: first to keep food warm during a dinner event that is eaten in a social way, such as Asian or Mexican food. This involves diners regularly dipping into a selection of dishes over the course of a meal. A food warmer tray maintains the temperature of the shared dishes so that diners don’t have to hurry to finish the meal before it goes cold. Secondly, a food warmer tray is useful for cooks dealing with recipes that involve cooking in stages, where some items need to be kept aside and warm while the chef deals with the next element of the recipe.
A recipe where a food warmer tray would be useful
Scallops with peas and bacon
- 4 large scallops, clean and with shells reserved for serving
- 4 slices back bacon
- 300g frozen peas
- 75ml crème fraiche
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Cut the bacon slices in half to separate the lean section from the streakier end then boil the streaky bacon sections with the peas for two minutes. Reserve a few peas for garnishing later then add the streaky bacon and peas to a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water, 30ml of the crème fraiche and the spring onions. Season well and whizz to a puree. Set the puree on a candle heated or electric food warmer while you go on to the next stage.
Stir the chives into the remaining crème fraiche well and season. Fry the lean bacon pieces until starting to turn crispy. Set them on the food warmer with the puree. Brush the scallops with olive oil and season. Fry them in a very hot pan for about a minute on each side.
Serve the dish on the scallop shells, starting with a bed of pea puree, topped with a scallop, then a blob of the crème fraiche and chive mixture and finally with the lean bacon slice. Garnish with the peas reserved earlier and serve immediately.