This recipe is also from my "Penguin Cordon Bleu Cookery" book I talked about yesterday... and is possibly the best salmon mousse I've ever had. It's served cold as an appetizer with crackers (I like Carr's Water Biscuits with this as they do not detract from the flavor) or thin slices of sourdough bread. Not for the faint of heart or time conscious, but worth the work.
- 3/4 lb steak of salmon
- 1 can Swanson's Vegetable Broth
- Bechamel sauce made with 1 oz. butter, 1 oz. flour, 1/2 pint milk seasoned with a slice of onion, 6 peppercorns, a bayleaf and a blade of mace (or a pinch of ground mace), salt and pepper (I'll tell you how to cook Bechamel sauce below)
- 2 oz. butter
- 1-2 tablespoons cream
- 1-2 tablespoons dry sherry
Poach the salmon in the oven, covering it with vegetable broth. Allow to cool in the liquid, then remove the skin and bone.
Prepare the Bechamel Sauce:
Add the onion and spices to the milk, cover the pan, and set on a low heat for 5-7 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL. Strain milk into a separate bowl and wipe out the pot to use again. Use the cleaned pot now as your mixing bowl and mix together with your hands the butter and flour ( this is called a roux ) until thoroughly blended. Pour over a third of the milk, blend and add the remainder of the milk. When thoroughly mixed, season lightly with salt and pepper, return to the stove and heat slowly, stirring continually until boiling. Boil for one to two minutes, then adjust the seasoning. (Note: Bechamel Sauce is basically a white sauce the consistency of gravy) Cool the Bechamel sauce quickly by pouring it onto a large plate.
Cream the butter until quite soft and half-whip the cream. Pound the salmon in a pestle and mortar or work well in a bowl with a large wooden spoon. Add the sauce by degrees with plenty of seasoning. Fold in the butter, cream, and sherry; do NOT overwork at this stage or the mixture will curdle.
Turn into a soufflé pan (or like I do, into a fish-shaped jello mold), smooth over the top, and set in a cool place to firm up.
The recipe calls for a thin layer of aspic on top, but it's an awful lot of work, so I usually omit that and go straight for the garnish, which is thinly sliced cucumbers and perhaps a few sprigs of dill or chervil.
Believe me, if you are invited to a dinner party and asked to bring hors d'oeuvres, this will knock their socks off!