Charcutepalooza Project #8 – Binding. It’s a seafood LOAF!
I cut it real close on this charcutepalooza challenge. Since August was the month of “the move”, we were trying to finish everything in our fridge before we left the old house. And when we got into the new house, all my stuff was packed in boxes. I
found got the food processor out on Saturday and knew immediately I had to get to work on this month’s challenge – binding. The amateur challenge was to make a pate out of poultry or seafood. The charcutier challenge was to make something with pig trotters or headcheese (which is made by boiling a pig’s head). Even though I am the adventurous type, I’m still not sure I’m ready to cook a massive pig head yet. And given the time constraints, I decided to make a seafood pate. I hadn’t done anything with seafood for the charcuterie challenges, and thought it would be a nice change of pace from using the pig.
Ruhlman says that the seafood pates, or mousselines, are probably the easiest to make for the home cook. I was blown away by how simple this dish was to prepare – and how delicious it is once it comes out! A mousseline is basically meat that has been put in a food processor and whipped together with egg whites and cream, and backed as a pate or terrine. If you think about chocolate mousse – it’s melted chocolate mixed with whipped egg whites and cream. So the term has some consistency. I’ve seen this technique a million times on Iron Chef, so I was excited that I got to do it. I pureed the shrimp with the egg white and slowly added cream – the cream even “whipped” a little to create this light and airy mousse. I folded in cooked mushroooms and chopped spinach to the mousse.
Then, I lined a aluminum loaf pan I got from the grocery store with plastic wrap and put in some of the mousse. Then, as the inlay, I put a nice 10 oz center cut piece of fresh salmon, and covered that in shrimp mousse. After baking it for almost an hour and a half (while I watched The Next Food Network Star and The Great American Food Truck Race), I took it out of the oven, put a weight over the top, and let it chill in the fridge overnight.
When I pulled it out of the fridge this morning, it was pretty cool. I basically make a seafood-loaf. I cut into it and you can see layers of shrimp mousse, flecked with mushrooms and spinach, encasing this pink salmon filet. The mousse is incredibly creamy and airy, with a huge amount of shrimp flavor. The salmon was moist and delicious (although I think it overcooked just a tad as I let it cool). Served with some pickled cornichons, onions, and mustard – this was an amazing brunch! I never knew you could do this to seafood and I’m glad I got an opportunity to really expand my culinary knowledge!
I also have some leftover shrimp mousse – and you can bet that I’m making some dumplings very, very soon! And I can’t wait for next month’s challenge – pate in a crust. English pork pie, anyone?