These simple and delicious layered molds of smoked fish and tomato are served with a quenelle of chive cream and accented with chive oil. The fresh water fish used by Chef Billoux, pike-perch, is familiar to Europeans. In the U.S., a good substitute is speckled trout. Buy it already smoked, or cold-smoke your own, then chill. The molds in which Chef Billoux prepares this dish are about the shape and size of the small aluminum containers in which flavored cream cheese is sold in the U.S., and those would work well.
- Tomato Confit
- Tomatoes - 12-14, peeled, quartered, and seeded
- Olive Oil - Scant 1/4 cup
- Smoked Pike-Perch
- Olive Oil
- Pike-Perch - 1 cold-smoked (alt. smoked trout) - 1 to 1-1/4 lbs
- Chive Cream
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup, beaten to firm peaks
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Chives - 10 to 12, minced
- Chive Oil (see Cooking Basics, Flavored Oils)
- Extra-virgin olive oil - For drizzling
- Chives - 8, whole
To make the confit: Preheat the oven to 150 F. Rub a baking sheet with a little olive oil. Spread the tomato pieces in a single layer on the prepared sheet. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake 1 hour, until softened.
To prepare the fish mold: Preheat the oven to 150 F. Wipe the insides of four 3-1/2-inch to 4-inch by 1-3/4-inch to 2-inch deep round molds lightly with olive oil. Fit 4 or 5 tomato pieces into the bottom in a single layer. Shave a very thin slice or two from the smoked fish and fit over the tomato pieces. Top with more tomato pieces, then more fish, alternating layers, until the mold is filled. Repeat with remaining molds. Place on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, until warmed through. Alternatively, Chef Billoux sets the prepared molds on the hot top of his range, away from direct heat, to warm. Warm only; do not cook.
To make the chive cream: Fold the seasonings and chives into the beaten cream.
To serve: Place a plate on top of a mold and invert; shake slightly to loosen, then remove the mold. With a sharp serrated knife, gently cut the fish mold in half. Lift the halves with a flat spatula and place near the top of a serving plate, separating the cut pieces to create an open “V.” With two large spoons, form a quenelle of chive cream. Place in the open V-shaped area on the plate. Repeat with remaining plates. Drizzle chive oil and olive oil around the chive cream quenelles. Cross two whole chives over each quenelle.