Sunday, July 12, 2009
I saw a dozen adorable little fish molds at an estate sale, and of course I just had to have them. They sat in my cabinet for months, along with all the other odds and ends of cookware that seemed essential at the time I bought them.
Then it was my turn to bring a plated first course to one of my cooking group dinners. Rummaging around I came across the molds, and thought "Aha, salmon mousse!"
This is an extremely easy recipe, and is one of the best salmon mousses you'll ever taste. As a first course, served as I did, garnished with cucumbers, capers and triangles of dark pumpernickel, it serves 6. It also makes a wonderful brunch main course, served on a bed of lettuce with a creamy dill dressing. Then you would need to double the recipe to serve 6. For the dressing, stir a sprinkling of dill weed and a squeeze of lemon juice into bottled ranch dressing.
I have made it with smoked salmon, and it is delicious. You'll need a good quality smoked salmon to make it work, and that can be a bit pricey. Still for a special occasion, it is indeed worth it.
SILKY SALMON MOUSSE
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 1/4 lb skinless, boneless salmon filets
1 teaspoon chicken broth concentrate or bouillon granules (see note)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
4 green onions, with part of the green top, chopped
1 tsp dried dill weed
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice and finely grated zest of one lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Ground white pepper to taste
In a skillet just large enough to hold the filets in one layer, bring the wine, water, lemon slices and peppercorns to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the salmon, cover, and simmer 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness, or until just barely done though.
Remove the salmon filets to a plate and set aside. Bring the liquid back up to a simmer and pour one cup into a glass measure. Pour immediately into a food processor and add the chicken concentrate. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top, cover and process for about a minute. Add the reserved salmon, onions, dill weed, mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, and cream. Process just to blend, about 30 seconds. Taste and add salt and white pepper as desired.
Pour into one four-cup mold, or six 1/2-cup ramekins and chill until set, at least 6 hours. Can be made up to 12 hours ahead.
NOTE: I use Better Than Bouillon chicken stock paste. It comes in a jar and is widely available. It's not as salty as bouillon cubes or granules. If you want to leave out the chicken for dietary preferences, vegetable broth paste or granules work equally well. If making this with smoked salmon, use one cup of water, heated to a simmer, for the liquid.