Terrine of Squab Breast and Wild Mushrooms
This terrine is notable not only for its use of squab, but also for its separate layering of the kinds of wild mushrooms, using gelatin to preserve the juices of each.
- Whole Squab Breasts - 4
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Canola oil - 4 tablespoons
- Brandy - 1 tablespoon
- Shiitake Mushrooms - 4 ounces, stemmed
- Oyster Mushrooms - 4 ounces, stemmed
- Chanterelle Mushrooms - 4 ounces, stemmed
- Salt to taste
- Dry Pinot Grigio wine - 9 tablespoons
- Unflavored gelatin - 2 tablespoons
- Mache or Baby Greens - 1-1/2 cups
- Tomato - 1 small, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
- Chives - 1 tablespoon, snipped
To prepare the squab: Bone and skin the squab breasts and rub them with the pepper. In a large saute pan or skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and saute the breasts, turning to brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Add the brandy to the pan, avert your face, and ignite it with a long kitchen match. Shake the pan until the flames subside. Continue to cook the breasts, turning them in the juices, until they are browned but still rare inside, about 8 minutes. Set aside.
To prepare the mushrooms: Place three large saute pans or skillets over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil to each. Place one kind of mushroom in each pan and saute, tossing quickly until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle all the mushrooms with salt and pepper and add 2 tablespoons of the wine to each pan. Toss and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the remaining 3 tablespoons of the wine until it softens, about 1 minute. Et the bowl over a pan of hot water and warm over low heat, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add one-third of the gelatin-wine mixture to each pan, tipping the pan to let the gelatin completely mix with the juices. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside the cool slightly.
To prepare the terrine: Line a standard 8-by-4-inch loaf pan or a 3-cup terrine mold with plastic wrap, leaving a 6-inch overhang all around. Spoon the chanterelle mushrooms all of their juices into the bottom of the mold and smooth with the back of a spoon. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to let the gelatin firm.
Remove the mold from the refrigerator and place two squab breasts, end to end, on top of the mushroom layer. Spoon the oyster mushrooms and their juices over the squab, smooth, and return the mold to the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Remove the mold from the refrigerator and place the remaining two squab breasts into the mold, end to end. Spoon the shiitake mushrooms and their juices on top and smooth. Fold the excess plastic wrap tightly over the top of the mold and press down gently with your fingers to compress the mushrooms to be sure the mixture reaches into all of the corners. Return the mold to the refrigerator and chill for 6 to 8 hours.
To serve: Using the excess plastic wrap as a handle, pull the terrine from the mold and place it on a platter. Remove the plastic. Using a serrated knife, slice the terrine into 1/2-inch-thick portions. On each serving plate, place one slice of the terrine just off center. Arrange some of the mache or baby greens on the side and lightly sprinkle the plates with tomato bits and chives.