This type of recipe is right out of Escoffier’s playbook. I learned how to make it at the Ecole Ritz Escoffier in Paris. The school is located right across the hall from the very same kitchens that August Escoffier himself once presided over.
I really enjoy this type of cooking. It is labor intensive and time-consuming but I find the process very rewarding. Complex recipes have always been appealing to me. Unfortunately Janine finds these types of recipes too rich, too heavy and texturally unappealing. I keep sneaking mousselines onto our dinner plates hoping she warms up to them. “No really honey, it’s not mousseline. Its sole and salmon stuffed with cod.” The squinted glance and suspicious “uh huh” let’s me know she is wise to the scam.
I guess a forcemeat terrine is out of the question.
Sole and Salmon Turban
Makes 6 servings
For the turban –
- 8 small sole of flounder fillets
- 1lb salmon fillet (cut into slices about the same size of the sole fillets)
- 1lb large spinach leaves (do not used baby spinach)
- Salt and pepper
For mousseline filling –
- ¾lb cod or other white flesh fish
- 1 egg white
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 – 3 tablespoons finely diced red pepper
- 2 – 3 tablespoons finely diced zucchini skin (blanched in salt water before being diced)
- Salt and white pepper
For the sauce –
- ½ cup dry white wine
- A few saffron threads
- 1 shallot finely diced
- 1 cup fish stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 ½ tablespoons butter
- One pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare the spinach –
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the spinach by dipping each leaf individually into the boiling water and then into a bowl of ice water. Blot spinach on folded paper towels. This method will keep each leaf flat which helps when laying them in the mold. Continue to simmer the pot of water. It will be used to cook a spoonful of the mousseline filling. Once it is cooked, the filling can be tasted for seasonings.
Prepare the mousseline filling –
Cut cod into 1 inch cubes. Place in freezer until fish is semi-frozen. Be careful not to freeze solid. Place fish cubes in a food processor along with a big pinch of salt and pulse until finely ground. Add egg white. Continue pulsing until it is incorporated. Add cream slowly and continue processing until filling is soft and fluffy. Drop a spoonful into the simmering water and poach until set. Taste for seasonings. Stir in salt and pepper to as needed. Fold in diced red pepper and zucchini. Keep filling in refrigerator until ready for use.
Prepare the turban –
Lay alternating sole and salmon fillets into a small ring mold. The head and tail ends should hang over the sides of the mold. They will be folded back over the top once the mold is filled. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Lay spinach leaves over fish fillets to create an even layer. Add mousseline evenly to the mold until it is three-quarters filled. Fold the edges of the fillet over the top. Press down lightly to compact. Place mold in a tall-sided pan. Add boiling water until it is about 2 inches from the top of the mold. Place mold and water bath in oven. Bake for about 30-45 minutes until fish is cooked and filling is set.
Prepare sauce –
Add white, shallots, and saffron to a small sauce pan. Boil until wine has evaporated. Add fish stock. Continue to boil until about two tablespoons remain. Add heavy cream. Bring back to a boil and reduce slightly. Lower the heat to low and whisk in butter. Add cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Taste for seasonings. Add more lemon juice or salt as needed.
Finish the dish –
Remove water bath from oven when fish is done. Remove mold from water bath and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Place plate or cutting board over the top. Flip upside down and remove mold from turban. Cut slices and serve with sauce.