Gorgeous, isn’t it? You are probably thinking yes, but too difficult for me to make. So many times cooks, and non-cooks alike look at a photo of a beautiful dish and because they assume it’s complicated to make, just skip it. A couple of people saw the preview photo for this salmon terrine and had just that reaction. Well, surprise – it’s mostly prep work! How hard is it to chop some eggs and veggies, steam some fish, dissolve some Knox gelatin in a glass of wine and follow a few simple steps that culminate in oohhs and aahhs when you present an aristocratic salmon terrine to start your meal?
Oli prepared and photographed this in Sweden and asked me to replicate it in Virginia Beach, so I can tell you first hand it’s pretty simple. Just set some time aside for the prep and be organized. The rest is a breeze. What I found most challenging was sectioning the lemon! Yeah, cutting between the membrane wasn’t easy. My results were not perfect but I managed.
Some people look for short cuts – here are a few to make it even easier. Everything needs to be cold when you assemble the terrine. You can make the hard boiled eggs in advance. If you don’t want to roast the bell peppers, pick up a jar in the grocery store. Just be sure to blot them very dry before using them. (Jarred peppers are pricey but quick. Personally, I love the aroma of fresh peppers roasting in my kitchen.) You can chop the scallions and parsley in advance as well. Salmon – sure, do that the night before. You could refrigerate everything in individual foil packets or small bowls until ready to use. Oh, and yes, by all means pick up a box of fish stock from the soup section of the grocery store.
Take a look at the photo – all you are doing is making several layers of gel on which you are layering jeweled tone veggies and summer pink salmon. Oli’s summer salmon terrine is quite healthy – low cal and low carb. With every bite there’s a new surprise. Fresh ocean taste of salmon, sweetness from bell peppers, creamy texture of hardboiled egg bits, freshened with a bite of citrus (that never makes your mouth pucker), clean parsley, a slight bite from a peppercorn and maybe some scallion. All surrounded by a subtle, wine scented fish gel.
This salmon terrine is the quintessential summer time starter.
Summer Salmon Terrine
Let’s take this step by step.
Prepare the filling
1 pound salmon fillet, boned
3 hardboiled eggs
1 yellow bell pepper roasted, skin removed
1 red bell pepper, roasted, skin removed
1 tablespoon olive oil for brushing
5 lemons wedges only
2 scallions finely chopped
1/2 cup of fresh parsley finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon of pink peppercorns
Pink peppercorns, also known as red peppercorns, do not have a strong peppery bite. They taste a bit fruity, and have a mild hotness. If you are unable to find them, substitute green peppercorns which are available in the spice section of most grocery stores.
1. Cut salmon into long strips. If your piece of salmon has skin, remove the skin after steaming.
Line a steamer basket with lightly oiled foil and steam salmon for 10 minutes. Alternately, place salmon strips on a lightly greased tray and bake for 5 minutes at 375F, or until salmon is cooked. Dry well between paper towels.
Refrigerate until using.
2. Make the hardboiled eggs.
When cool, peel then separately chop the yolks and whites. Place in individual bowls. Refrigerate until using.
3. Roast and chop the bell peppers.
Core peppers and cut lengthwise into 4 pieces. Place skin side up on an oven proof tray. Lightly brush with olive oil. Broil for about 10 minutes or until skin is black and bubbles.
Remove from broiler and cool. Peel off the skin and pat the peppers dry with a paper towels.
Finely chop peppers and place in individual bowls. Refrigerate until using.
4. Section the lemons.
Use a sharp knife to cut off the ends of the lemon.
Stand the lemon on one of the flat ends. Cut from top to bottom, taking away a section of the peel and white pith. You will see the lemon sections.
Continue to cut around the lemon. You do lose some of the fruit in order to remove all of the peel and pith.
When all of the peel and pith have been cut away, hold the lemon in your hand and cut between a section and the membrane that separates it from the adjacent section. Cut all the way to the center of the lemon. Move to the other side of the wedge and the membrane and cut the same way. You should now have a wedge of lemon.
Cut the next wedge and continue with the remaining wedges.
Place the wedges between paper towels and blot dry.
Refrigerate until using.
5. Finely chop scallions and parsley. Place in individual bowls.
You’ve done the prep work. Here’s what you have:
salmon strips, bowl with red pepper corns, chopped egg yolks
parsley, egg whites
lemon wedges, yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper
Prepare the stock
2 packets unflavored gelatin (5 teaspoons)
1 cup white wine
3 cups fish stock
salt and pepper
1. Dissolve gelatin in wine.
2. In a medium sauce pan bring the stock to a boil. Take pan off the heat and stir in the gelatin/wine mixture.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Put a lid on the pot and cool to about room temperature. This shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. If it starts to gel before you use it, just warm it up again.
Create your masterpiece.
1. Line a 4 cup loaf pan with plastic wrap. Make one of the long sides long enough to cover the top of the pan. (This will help when cutting the terrine for serving.) Pour in 1/2 cup of the stock. Sprinkle a few egg whites and some parsley on top and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes or until the gel sets.
2. Remove the pan from the freezer. Arrange the salmon stripes on the gel, keeping them in the center, away from the sides of the pan.
3. Sprinkle in half of the peppers, half of the egg whites and half of the yolks. Arrange half of the lemon wedges in between and around the salmon laying them lengthwise. Sprinkle in half the scallion and just a little of the parsley.
Note: Be careful when working with the egg yolks. They are delicate, so once you have them scattered, don’t move them around because they will disintegrate.
Pour in enough stock to cover this layer.
Return pan to freezer for about 20 minutes or until gel sets.
4. When set, remove pan from freezer and sprinkle in the rest of the eggs, lemons, yellow bell peppers (not the red) and scallions.
Pour in stock until everything is covered. You might have a little stock left over.
5. Sprinkle red bell pepper, peppercorns and parsley evenly over the top. Lightly press them down so that everything is covered with stock.
Refrigerate for at least 8 hours until set.
Serving your masterpiece
IMPORTANT: VERY SHARP KNIFE NEEDED
Remove loaf from pan keeping plastic on.
To slice, use a very sharp knife and saw through the plastic. Cut confidently, but carefully! Remove plastic from slice.
The gel tends to soften quickly, so be sure to keep the loaf cold when cutting and serve immediately.
Serving each slice on a chilled plate would be a nice touch.