Monday, August 15, 2011

CHARCUTEPALOOZA CHALLENGE: BINDING Liver Terrine, Fish/Seafood Mouselline, Headcheese, Feet, or Trotters…A Tale of Two, or Four Mousellines. Mousellines of Scallop and Lobster with Watercress and Sorrel

What a cruel and tempting challenge! As much as I love a nice fatty terrine and have been eager to make a good head cheese, I dislike that dreadful diabetes medication Metformin, and am even more eager to have my numbers come out “good” when I go to have my bloodwork done the next time. But the thing about Charcutepalooza is it keeps coming back around on itself.
Back in April, after we did the Charcutepalooza smoking challenge, one of the things that I did with the salmon we smoked was to mold some of it in an aspic and to bake some of it in a terrine. I didn’t put the recipes on the blog, though. The terrines were pretty, and the flavors were good, but I wasn’t quite pleased with either one. There were lots of layers and varied textures, with smoked salmon, asparagus, sorrel, roasted red peppers, capers, and leeks. The aspic had layers of the pre-cooked ingredients with a rich aspic made from a highly concentrated fish stock. The terrine was similar, but was bound with whole eggs and then baked. In both there was just too much going on, and they fell apart when sliced.

So when Mrs. Wheelbarrow included making a fish/seafood mouselline in her binding challenge, I thought I might revisit the fish terrine, and see if I could make it better this time.

I thought I’d take a different approach this time. First off, I made sure to follow the advice of Mrs. W and Mr. R, and to chill all parts of the food processor. This really does make a difference; when the blade and bowl are chilled there is a point in the grinding that the mixture “turns”, and it lightens and fluffs out beautifully. To help with the taste, I went with just egg whites, as I thought the whole eggs were overpowering, too “eggy”. To help with the health aspect, I skipped the heavy cream, and used a panade* made with olive oil instead. And since slicing had been an issue I pureed everything but a few pieces of lobster and scallop. And to rein in my tendency to get too enthusiastic and then have too much going on at once, I limited my “green” layer to watercress and sorrel.

All in all, I think that these mouselline terrines came out pretty well. So here’s the strategy, formula, and technique. The proportions are more or less, give or take. This should make enough for two 1C or one 2C terrine.  Multiply or divide as you wish:
Prepare your layer ingredients:
Roast, seed, peel, and chop an Italian sweet red pepper (skip this if you don’t care for peppers, and just add more lobster to this layer).
Wash and remove the stems from a handful of watercress and a handful of sorrel (if you don’t have watercress, use just sorrel, if you don’t have sorrel, use just watercress, and if you don’t have either, spinach will do, but it won’t be as interesting).
Check to make sure your herbs are clean: parsley, chives
Put a small lobster in a pot of boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes. It will be on the underdone side. Remove from water. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from claws and tail, and chop it into fairly small pieces. You’ll need about 1/2 c. (Use the shells in either bisque or to flavor fish broth, and save any remaining lobster meat for something nice like crepes or ravioli).
Slice 1 or 2 scallops into 3 or 4 thin rounds each.

Make the panade: heat 2/3 c water, a pinch of salt, and 1 T olive oil just to boiling. Add ¼ c flour and stir over low heat until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the side of the pan. Let cool to room temperature before adding to forcemeat.

Make the forcemeat: 1 lb mild fish such as swai or tilapia, 4 or 5 scallops, 3 egg whites, ½ recipe panade. Blend these together in a chilled food processor until smooth and light.

Run this mixture through a sieve. Do this. Really. Even after being pulverized in a food processor there are still strings and strands of things that will mess up your mousselline!

Mix the different layers: Puree  about ¼  of the forcemeat with watercress, sorrel, and the zest and juice of ½ lemon.

Puree about another ¼ of the forcemeat with the roasted red pepper and ¼ c lobster meat.
Reserve remaining forcemeat for scallop layer.

Prepare your terrine or molds:
Line with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and cut a piece of parchment to fit across the bottom of the mold. Rub parchment with a drop or two of olive oil. I’d never tried using plastic wrap in a terrine, so I tried both this time. I think I prefer using the foil, as the one in the foil had a firmer, more uniform shape, and I didn’t care for the imprint the plastic wrap made on the other one.

Layer the molds:
Place some parsley leaves (no stems), chopped chives, and small or chopped capers in the bottom of the mold.
Carefully spread a layer of the roasted red pepper forcemeat mixture.
Cover with chopped lobster meat.
Carefully spread a layer of the plain scallop and fish forcemeat.
Cover with sliced scallops.
Carefully spread a layer of the watercress and sorrel forcemeat mixture.

Cover with another piece of parchment, cut to fit pan.
Cover with plastic wrap or foil and place in a shallow baking pan.
Pour hot water around molds to reach about halfway up the sides.
Bake at 325F until internal temperature is 145F
Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and pour water from pan.

Weigh the terrines down by placing a plate on the top of the terrine and placing a jar of something on top of the plate.
Refrigerate until very cold, at least overnight.

Unmold and serve on bread or crackers, or by itself. I served mine with avocado and red tomato coulis, and preferred it simply by itself.

*To see a nice illustration of how to make a panade, and also a seafood terrine, visit one of my favorite web sites, Chef Simon. To have a good laugh, have Google translate it from French to English for you… a saucepan is a Russian and forcemeat is a joke!