Here’s a fairly quick, and really easy, recipe for you. I made this last weekend to bring to a party, and from start to on-my-way-out-the-door was under an hour. And that’s including the fairly tedious final presentation part. If you just want it to smear on bagels, you’re looking at five minutes.
I used trout, because that’s what was handy in the store, but any kind of smoked fish will do. I think I did it once with whitefish, but try salmon or sturgeon. Here’s what you need:
That’s an 8-oz package of cream cheese, a roughly equivalent amount of fish, some horseradish, some lemon juice, salt and pepper. Remove the skin from the fish, if there is any. The smoking process turns skin into a thick, rubbery plate, which makes it really easy to pull off. If you see any bones, get rid of them, too.
Break it up into pieces and put it in your food processor.
Put in the cream cheese.
A good spoonful of horseradish (you can add more later if you like).
And some lemon juice. As always, real lemons. Did you ever hear about the hostess who put lemon seeds in her Hellman’s mayonnaise, so that her guests would think she’d made it from scratch?
Then there was the one about the lady who routinely put a few buckshot into the goose she served, so that her guests would think it was wild and not from the supermarket. While you ponder these imponderables, put in some salt and pepper. Here’s a case where white pepper is better, because it doesn’t make dark spots in the finished product.
A food processor is what makes all of this possible. It could be done in a blender, but it would be tricky. After a bit of processing it’s always good to scrape it down off the sides with a rubber spatula so that it all gets blended. With a blender you’d be doing this every five seconds.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you cannot over-process this. You want it smooth and satiny. Taste it now to see if you have to throw in a little more horseradish, lemon juice, or salt and pepper at this point.
So far this has taken about ten minutes, but that’s because of all the time I’m spending doing prep with one hand and shooting pictures with the other. So, that’s ten minutes one-handed, five minutes with both hands. Here comes the compulsive part. Feel free to find another way to serve this — crudités, bagels, pita chips.
I took a bunch of mini-roma and cherry tomatoes.
Cut them in half and …
…scooped out the insides. No, I didn’t use this spoon. I thought it would be good because it’s the right size, but you need a sharper edge. A grapefruit spoon would be ideal, but the gremlins stole mine so I used a regular teaspoon instead.
That done, I used the baby spoon to fill each one up with a tidy mound of the mousse. Then I arranged them on a nice platter. Somebody remind me to go back to the house where the party was and retrieve it!
I covered them with some plastic wrap, and put the whole thing into the freezer for a few minutes. The refrigerator would have been better, but I had to change my clothes and get out the door quickly. This step firms the mousse up a little, since everything’s been at room temperature.
Right before I left, I cut a few sprigs of herbs from the garden for a little garnish.
And there you have it. It’s starting to look like I’ll never get my own cooking show (which is a shame since nowadays just about everyone else does) so this blog will have to do! This is another one of those big-bang-for-your-buck kind of recipes that gets praise way out of proportion to the amount of work it actually takes. So enjoy!