This chef's sumptuous creations are almost too pretty to eat
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You will find it easier to make than you suspect, a delicious recipe for Christmas entertaining and a delight to behold. Christmas Tree Mousse 1 1/2 pounds lemon sole 1/2 pound scallops 6 egg whites 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste 1 cup heavy cream 3 ounces fresh trimmed spinach leaves 1/4 cup loose parsley leaves 1 envelope unflavored gelatin Pimento strips 5 black pitted olivesSkip to next paragraph
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Cut sole into pieces and put in work bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade. Process until sole is completely smooth, turning machine off and scraping down sides with spatula several times. Remove sole to a bowl and repeat with scallops. Add pureed scallops to sole and stir to combine.
Return half of sole and scallop mixture to work bowl. With machine running, add 3 egg whites one at a time. Add half each of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. With machine running, add half of cream and process until mousse makes soft peaks, no more. When pressed with a finger, surface of mousse should leave indentation mark.
Put mousse mixture in another large bowl and repeat with remaining seafood puree. Combine all seafood mousse in bowl and correct seasoning. Keep chilled.
Put spinach and parsley leaves into work bowl and process until finely chopped. Add 1 cup seafood mousse and process to combine. While machine is running, sprinkle in gelatin. You may season mousse further with lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside 2 tablespoons green mousse.
Chop up a few pieces of pimento and stir into rest of green mousse. Chop olives finely and mix with reserved 2 tablespoons green mousse. Keep all mousse chilled.
Butter a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan. Cut waxed or parchment paper to fit bottom and sides of pan, with enough overhang to cover top. Butter both sides of paper. Spoon about 2/3 white seafood mousse into pan. Using wet spatula, make a V-shaped trough down center of mousse to form upside-down pine tree. Put a row of pimento in apex of V to form star on top. Fill V with green mousse; be careful not to smudge edges.
To form trunk, make a row down center of pan with black olive mousse mixture. Then carefully cover with remaining white mousse, smoothing top with spatula.
Cover with overhanging paper, then tightly cover with aluminum foil. Set mousse in larger pan and place on oven rack. Pour boiling water in larger pan to come halfway up sides of mousse. Bake in preheated 350-degree F. oven 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean (instant meat thermometer should register 140 degrees F.).
Remove loaf pan from water and let mousse sit for at least 20 minutes. Take off foil and paper on top, then run knife around sides and invert. Carefully peel off paper. Cut loaf into thin slices. To avoid smearing tree pattern, remember to wipe off knife blade after each slice.
Serve hot with beurre blanc or hollandaise, or serve cold with Green Mayonnaise, recipe below. Green Mayonnaise 4 egg yolks 2 teaspoons mustard, or to taste 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste 2-3 cups vegetable oil, to desired consistency 6-8 fresh spinach leaves, trimmed 1/2 cup loose parsley leaves 2 shallots, chopped Salt and white pepper to taste
Put egg yolks in processor with mustard and half of lemon juice. Briefly turn on machine to combine them. With motor running, pour in oil in slow, steady stream until it reaches desired consistency.
When mayonnaise is thick and thoroughly emulsified, add spinach, parsley, and shallots, and process until finely chopped. Season to taste with remaining lemon juice and salt and pepper.