How about a little retro action? TERRINES AND MOUSSES! These fifties party favorites are given a twist served in hors d'oeuvres-sized servings. They are so old-timey, but honestly they are delicious, and good conversation pieces. Both of these could be served over a nice salad as a starting course, or set out with crackers, crostini or cucumber slices.
You could use any terrine or mousse recipe, of course. I adapted Martha Stewart's asparagus and shiitake terrine recipe from her Hors D'oeuvres Handbook and used the salmon mousse recipe from my copy of Joy of Cooking.
This is the fun stuff! I should've told friends to bring over wine and bread and dig in, but instead I showed up at the playground after school and passed them around, and I think both the terrines and the mousses were a hit. Let's start with the terrines after the jump, just click "read more" below!
For six beautiful little terrines, you will need 12 small to medium sized shiitake mushrooms, 2 medium sized leeks (well washed), 12 very thin asparagus spears (you could cut larger ones lengthwise, if need be), 2 tsps. sea salt, 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 c. goat cheese and 1/2 c. labneh cheese. I looked far and wide for labneh but couldn't find it, so instead used a mixture of 1/4 c. farmer's cheese and 1/4 c. quark. This worked and tasted wonderful, but I think you could substitute really thick greek yogurt for the labneh. I think the labneh might be in there to thin the goat cheese for molding, as well as flavor. Any nice cheese that might thin the goat cheese out will work.
You will also need crackers or crostini for serving and plastic wrap for the donut pan.
Preheat your oven to 400º. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and toss the caps with 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. salt. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
While those are in the oven, finely chop the white parts of the leeks. Sauté them in the remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil over low to medium heat about five minutes until softened and translucent. Set aside in a medium sized mixing bowl to cool.
Trim the asparagus bottoms and separate the leek leaves. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt heavily. Add the asparagus and cook for two minutes, then scoop the spears out and set them in a colander under cold water for a minute to stop the cooking. To the same boiling pot of water, add the leek leaves and cook until tender. Some of the greens can be really tough, so let those cook up to four minutes if needed. Transfer the leeks to a colander and rinse with cold water as well. Drain both and set aside.
To make the cheese mixture, add the labneh (or labneh substitute), goat cheese and 1 tsp. salt to the bowl with the sauteed leeks. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Gather the mushrooms, asparagus, leeks and cheese mixture, and you're ready to assemble!
Drape a long piece of plastic wrap across a donut pan. Starting with the two center donut pan cavities, arrange pieces of the leek greens all around, overlapping to make a continuous leek lining for the terrines. The leek pieces can extend past the center and edges of the pan cavities, as we will trim them up after the pans are filled.
Starting again with the terrines in the center of the pan, spread a thin layer of the cheese mixture around the bottom of the leek lining. Place two asparagus spears into the cheese, and add more cheese to fill to almost the top of the pan. Press pieces of the shiitake mushrooms into the surface of the cheese as shown below.
Trim the excess leek leaves away from each terrine. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. I pressed the top of the plastic wrap into the terrines gently with a second donut pan to level the mushrooms with the cheese which made a somewhat flatter finish. Refrigerate overnight (these can be made up to two days before serving).
When you are ready to serve the terrines, prepare a platter or small salad where you will place the terrine. They slip out of the plastic easily and totally intact. Serve with crostini and a small serrated knife. Pretty and pretty delicious!
Are you still with me? Now we're on to the salmon mousse. This is quick (except for setting up time) and so good even Stella took some to lunch with her!
For nine salmon mousse rounds you will need 1/4 c. lemon juice, 1 envelope unflavored gelatin, 1/4 c. mayonnaise, 1/4 c. sour cream, 15 oz. canned red salmon with skin and bones removed, 1/4 c. chopped fresh dill, 1 shallot, three cornichons, 1 tsp. sweet (or hot) paprika, and 3/4 c. heavy cream. You will also need vegetable oil to grease the pans, a pastry bag with no tip, and crackers and/or cucumber slices for serving.
Start by preparing the salmon. You can do all of this in a food processor, but this is how you do it by hand and with a stand mixer. Finely dice the cornichons, chop the dill, and mince the shallot. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer with the canned salmon and the paprika. Break apart the salmon a bit with a fork, then mix until all ingredients are evenly combined and smooth looking.
Next, place the lemon juice in a saucepan or small pot. Sprinkle the packet of sugar over the lemon juice and let soften for five minutes. Then, over low heat, stir the lemon juice and gelatin for one to two minutes, until the gelatin is dissolved.
Let that cool to lukewarm, then stir in the sour cream and mayonnaise. Add that mixture to the salmon and mix until just combined.
Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks, then fold into the salmon mixture.
Prepare your pans by brushing lightly with vegetable oil. Fill a pastry bag (without a tip) with the salmon mousse and firmly fill each donut pan cavity (you should get easily 8-9 mousse rounds). Smooth the tops with a small spoon or offset knife, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. These come out of the pans the easiest if they've had a full 24 hours in the refrigerator, but you can get away with much less (like overnight).
When you are ready to unmold the mousse, there are two ways to do it. The first is to set the bottom of the pans in warm water for just a moment or two, then flip them back over and whack the heck out of them on a piece of wax or parchment paper on the counter. This method is dicey. I had some that lost their shape a bit and had a terrible finish, others popped out perfectly. I don't recommend that method.
What I do recommend is running a knife around the edges, then gently prying the mousses out of the pans with that knife. Once you get the knife in there they do come right out, but you are left with a mark where the knife went in. You can cover that with a nice dill garnish!
A flat metal spatula or even cheese planer works best to pick the mousses up and move them around. They are pretty firm, but do need a little support. Place over an arrangement of cucumbers or atop a small salad, put out the crackers, and serve. So yummy!
Congratulations if you made it to the end of this post! It's important for me not to duplicate concepts in my collection of donut pan ideas, so terrines and mousses had to stay together. Whew!