Domesticity Nouveau

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Salmon Mousse


Halloween is always a fun time to play with your food.  This year I was able to get a cute little brain mold which was perfect for Salmon Mousse.

Salmon Mousse sounds fancy, but I promise it is so easy a zombie could do it.  It is a great appetizer for your holiday parties or a cool and refreshing meal on a weeknight.  We like to use it to top cucumber slices, but crackers would work great, too.  It is quite rich and small individual servings would make a fantastic appetizer for a dinner party.

The original recipe called for fresh cooked salmon and fresh herbs, but I have found canned salmon and dried herbs to be a very tasty and more wallet-friendly version.  I can only imagine that smoked salmon would be quite delightful! 

Salmon Mousse

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 shallot, quartered
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher flake salt
2 tsp dried dill weed
2 tsp dried chives
1 14oz can salmon, drained
1 cup cream

Place gelatin, lemon juice, shallot and boiling water in bowl of food processor with ‘S’ blade and whirl for about 1 minute.  Add all remaining ingredients, except cream, and blend for an additional minute.  Slowly pour in cream, with machine running, until combined.  Pour into a 4 cup mold or serving dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.  To unmold, dip dish into warm water for 30 seconds, and invert onto serving plate.  Garnish as desired.

Zombies don’t ask a lot of questions, but you might have some...

What size shallot should I use?

About the size of a jumbo egg should work.  If you don’t have shallots or access to them, a thick slice of onion would work just as well in the recipe.

Is that fresh or bottled lemon juice?
Either is just fine!  I normally use bottled because it is handy and I forget to buy lemons.  If I had a fresh lemon handy, I think I would add a bit of the zest finely grated, too.

Do I need to use smoked paprika?
You can use regular sweet paprika if you would like, or none at all.  I like the little hint of smokiness that comes through with the smoked paprika, it just adds a nice depth to the flavor.  A 1/4 tsp of liquid smoke would add a nice little boost also.

If I am using fresh herbs, how much would I use?
About 1 Tbsp fresh chopped dill and 1 Tbsp fresh chopped chives.  I don’t always remember to put in the chives and the mousse still turns out great.  Green onions would work fine in place of the chives...  work with what you have on hand.

Do I need to pick out the bones and skin from the canned salmon?
Nope!  That’s the easiest part, just drain off the liquid and dump the can into the food processor.  The bones and skin breakdown in the time spent whirling around in the food processor and all those healthy vitamins, minerals and fats keep our brains running great, just in case we need to out-think a zombie.  If you are using fresh cooked or smoked salmon, you will want to make sure the bones are removed.

What type of cream?
ANY!  I use heavy whipping cream, but half and half would work well, too.  The notes with the original recipe state that 2 percent milk is fine, but why miss out on the decadence and richness of good cream!

How do I invert the mold?
After a quick dip in warm water to loosen the mousse, place a plate on top of the mold, face down.  Grab both the plate and the mold together and flip.  You might have to give the mold a couple of sharp raps with your fist to get it to release, or it may just slide out perfectly.  The other option is to serve the mousse out of a serving dish that you don’t have to unmold at all.

A sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley or chives... a dusting of paprika...  those little finishing touches can really make things fancy.  You know your zombie guests will appreciate fancy brains!

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