Appetizers should be an exciting prelude to the food that follows, and should set the tone for the rest of meal. A light touch is called for in the amount you serve. You’re are whetting your guests’ appetites for the dishes to follow and it is important not to fill them up to the extent that they can’t manage the later courses. I always want more and, of course, I am thankful that the portions are not bigger. It was my birthday last week and my husband, my children and I ate a four course dinner at at a nice restaurant. The appetizer seemed small when it was set in front of us, but I am thankful there wasn’t more. It was a perfect combination of fresh salmon and smoked salmon with saffron sauce. Here is the recipe and remember, not to large portions or your guests can’t eat the rest of the meal that you serve.
SALMON MOUSSE WITH SAFFRON SAUCE 6 appetizer servings
1 cup dry white wine, 6 oz. skinless salmon filet, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, 3 oz. smoked salmon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces, 3 oz. butter, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Saffron sauce: 1 tbsp. butter, 2 small shallots, finely chopped, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, 1 cup white wine, 1 cup heavy cream, tsk saffron threads
Garnish: pea tendrils* or parsley
Suggested accompaniment; toasted rye bread or fresh crusty bread
To make mousse, gently poach salmon in wine until barely opaque, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool and add smoked salmon and butter. Blend in food processor and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Do not place in the refrigerator if the salmon mousse is to be eaten within a hour or two.
To make saffron sauce, melt butter and cook onion and garlic until soft, but do not brown. Add wine and let simmer. Add cream, hold 1 tbsp. back, to the pan. Reduce the sauce. Dissolve saffron threads in remaining cream and add to sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, place a spoonful of sauce on six plates and place a large spoonful of mousse to the right of the sauce. Serve with toasted rye bread or crusty bread. Garnish with pea tendrils.
*The shoots and leaves that appear on the top of new pea plants in the early spring and summer. They are tender Little greens that taste like a cross between peas and spinach.