Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fish Pate Guillaume Tirel-Raymond Oliver, La Cuisine 1967

Obviously, I needed to make some adjustments as I wasn't about to wrap the damn thing in slabs of fatback. It still worked beautifully, which is somewhat frightening when I think about it. If you're following along at home, this is the recipe on page 352-there's a photograph on the reverse. Mine isn't as elegantly styled as Monsieur Oliver's, but it the cook and butler were both off today, and well-I had to make due. I also forgot to photograph it before serving. It was really impressive looking-you'll have to take my word for it.

I didn't need to wonder long if it was worth all the hassle when I was informed, "I would eat this every single day." Yeah, I'll bet he would.

I'm going to print the recipe as it appears in the book, but keep in mind you can line this with fakin' bacon (seriously) and I recommend parchment paper as well to help lift it from the mould. I didn't bother with the grinder, instead chopping it fine with my cleaver, then smashing it finer with the side of the blade. A food processor would probably make quick work of this. As for the fish, I used cod. John Dory is impossible in the US, pike is tasteless, and sole is too expensive. I bought cod for $5.99 a pound, which would have been outrageous as little as a decade ago, but in our current economy, was a rather good deal. I don't see why this wouldn't work with any mild fish. The thicker cod fillets still worked perfectly in the centre layer. Sole might have made a more delicate dish. We're not terribly delicate people. We're "Gigantic loaf of cod" people.

I served this cold, with chilled asparagus spears. I could have made a sauce, but I didn't bother. Served warm, I rather think it would need it.

You Will Need:

1 pound raw fish (hake, John Dory, sole, or pike)
4 egg whites (I used large)
Cayenne pepper
2 cups heavy cream (yeah, but the natural fish oils are "heart healthy" so you're cool)
4 cups fresh, white breadcrumbs
2 whole eggs
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
White pepper
4 raw, 1/3 pound fillets of John Dory or gray sole (I used cod)
Fennel fronds
Large thin slices of fresh pork fatback to line mould (or, fakin' bacon if you don't mind being kind of vulgar)
8 asparagus tips

Ready? OK, deep breath. Ready, set, GO!

Grind the pound of fish using the fine blade of a meat grinder. Work in two of the egg whites and season lightly with salt and cayenne. Force the mixture through a very fine sieve into a bowl. Set the bowl in another one filled with cracked ice to keep it very cold. Gradually beat in the 2 cups of heavy cream, reserving 2 tablespoons for later. When the mousseline is ready, make the second filling.

Put the bread crumbs into a bowl and blend them into a smooth paste with the whole eggs, tarragon, parsley, chives, and a little salt and pepper. Whip the reserved cream and stir into the mixture.

Beat remaining two egg whites lightly and reserve them.

Season the fillets with salt and pepper.

Line a large 10 cup loaf pan or pate mould first with the fennel fronds, then with the slices of fatback letting the fat overlap the long sides of the mould. Spread half of the fish mousse over the pork fat. Brush two fillets with egg whites and lay them on the mousseline. Spread half of the breadcrumb stuffing over the fillets and top it with the asparagus dipped in egg whites. Now spread the remaining half of the breadcrumb stuffing over the asparagus tips and coat it with more egg whites. Lay the two remaining fillets on top, brush them with egg whites. Spread remaining mousseline over fillets and fold the fatback over it making sure the pate is well covered with the fat.

Set the mould in a baking dish filled with 2 inches of hot water and cook in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until mousse is set.

Serve hot or cold.

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