Friday, December 21, 2007

2007 Holiday Party: Savory Food

For the savory snacks for our holiday party, we had four things: walnut, pear, and roquefort madeleines, salmon rillettes, mushroom caviar, and crudités. Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures of the last three things on that list, and so all I have is a picture of the madeleines. These madeleines were an interesting idea, but I am not sure I'd make them again. I will definitely make the salmon rillettes and mushroom caviar again, and crudités are always a fun, easy addition (ours were with cucumber, baby carrots, and radishes this time).

Salmon Rillettes
Adapted from David Lebovitz

8 oz (250 g) pieces of salmon, bones removed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives
4 oz (125 g) smoked salmon, cut into thin strips, then cut into ½-inch pieces

1. Season the salmon on both sides lightly with a bit of salt. Steam in a steamer basket until just cooked, about 8 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat and let cool.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, mash together with a fork the butter and the olive oil until very smooth. (This is very important; otherwise there'll be big chunks of butter in the finished rillettes.)

3. Stir in the lemon juice, then the chopped chives and smoked salmon.

4. Remove the skin from the salmon and flake the cooked salmon over the mixture, then fold the pieces of salmon into the rillette mixture. Season with salt, if necessary.

5. Scrape into a serving dish, cover, and chill for at least two hours. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Storage: The rillettes can be made up to two days before and refrigerated. They can also be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months.

Mushroom Caviar
Adapted from Simply Recipes

3 tablespoons butter
½ lb cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped
Salt (and pepper)
½ cup of minced shallots
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Melt butter in a large skillet on high heat. Add the mushrooms and shallots. Sauté for 5 minutes stirring frequently.

2. While the mushrooms are cooking, heat a small skillet on high heat. Add the pine nuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to get a little toasted. (Keep your eyes on the nuts, they can burn pretty quickly.) As soon as they begin to toast, remove the pan from the heat and put the pine nuts into a small bowl. Set aside.

3. While the mushrooms are cooking, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Once they have cooked for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and a tablespoon of dry white wine. Cook for an additional minute and remove from heat. Put mushroom mixture in a bowl, add the toasted pine nuts, and set aside to cool.

4. Once the mushrooms have cooled down a bit, mix in the lemon juice, sour cream, and parsley. Add more salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Chill before serving.

Serve with crackers or baguette slices.

Makes about 1½ cups. Serves four. (I was afraid this would not be enough and so I doubled all of the ingredients - that was entirely unnecessary, unless you want to make enough caviar for two parties.)


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