Smoked Salmon Mousse with Asparagus
The beautiful presentation of this starter make it an attention grabber. Like many Scandinavian dishes, it relies on the natural tastes of perfectly fresh ingredients. Easy to prepare in advance and finish when the guests take their seats, it can be made with other smoked fish or ham as well as salmon.
- Choux Pastry Swan Heads
- Water - 3 tablespoons
- Unsalted butter - 2 tablespoons
- Flour - 1/4 cup
- Salmon Mousse
- Smoked Salmon - 8 ounces
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lime
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/3 cup, beaten to soft peaks
- Basil-Yogurt Dressing
- Natural yogurt - 4 ounces
- Fresh Basil Leaves - 2
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dill sprigs - 1/2, stemmed and minced
- Thyme Sprigs - 1/2, stemmed and minced
- Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Fresh lemon juice - 2 teaspoons
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Green asparagus stalks - 8, trimmed and blanched
- White asparagus stalks - 8, trimmed and blanched
- Cucumber - 1
- Smoked Salmon - 4, thin slices
- Freshly ground pepper
- Mâche or ice lettuce - 4 sprigs
To prepare the choux pastry: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bring the water and butter to a boil in a deep saucepan. Stir in the flour, then remove from heat. When the mixture has cooled enough to handle, stir in the egg. Put the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe four 4-inch long "S" shapes on the parchment, making a rounded spot at one end of each "S" so that it looks like a swan's neck and head. Bake for 15 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove from heat and let cool; set aside. The swan heads may be made a day in advance and kept in a sealed container.
To prepare the mousse: Mince the salmon into a coarse dice. Season with pepper and lime juice. Fold in the cream. The mousse may be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
To prepare the dressing: Press the yogurt and basil leaves through a sieve. Add the seasoning and herbs. Swirl the mixture slightly but do not blend the colors completely. Set aside in the refrigerator.
To prepare the asparagus: Pour the olive oil and lemon juice on a large rimmed plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll the asparagus in the mixture to coat. Put the asparagus on a work surface and cut each into 2-inch pieces; put the pieces back on the plate and coat again. The asparagus may remain in the mixture on the plate for up to 20 minutes, but no longer as it spoils the asparagus taste.
To prepare the cucumber: Using a knife, cut 8 shallow grooves the length of the cucumber to create decorate scoring. Cut the cucumber in half crosswise, then lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Cut into thin slices.
To serve: Spoon a small mound of yogurt dressing on to one side on each plate, then pull out with the spoon to form a comet shape. Overlap cucumber slices beside the "comet." Using an ice cream scoop, place a scoop of mousse on each plate next to the cucumbers. Alternating colors, overlap pieces of white and green asparagus along the other side of the mousse. Ruffle a salmon slice and place at one end of the scoop; stand a swan neck in the other end of the mousse to create a "swan." Lightly dust the salmon with freshly ground pepper. Tuck a sprig of mâche or ice lettuce beside the comet