Terrine de saumon

Salmon terrine

This terrine of salmon with shrimp and sea scallops makes a lovely starter. It is enhanced by a cream sauce lightly flavored with curry and dill. And the beauty of the recipe is that you can use frozen fish if fresh is not available. There will be no discernible difference.

If you’ve never made a fish terrine before, you may be surprised to learn that it is baked in the oven over a pan of boiling water, a technique known in French as bain-marie.

Plan to make the terrine a day ahead of time if possible to give it time to cool thoroughly for easy slicing. You will need a 1 to 1-1/2 quart (liter) loaf pan, preferably non-adhesive. To hold the boiling water, use a cake pan of different dimensions than your loaf pan. The terrine will be placed on top of it crosswise.

Unmolding the terrine can be tricky, as it tends to stick to the bottom. How to handle this? Using a non-adhesive loaf pan is a good start, but if you don’t have one, simply cut out a rectangle of parchment paper to set on the bottom of your loaf pan before you fill it. You can also oil the sides with olive oil. Another solution is to slice the terrine while it’s still in the pan and lift each slice out carefully with a spatula.

The inclusion of whole pieces of fish and seafood provides interesting texture, but the terrine is delicate and bits may fall off when you transfer the slices to plates. Not to worry — you can disguise this with drizzles of the curry cream and artful placement of a garnish of tender leaves and a slice of lime or lemon.

1 pound (450 g) salmon, fresh or frozen
1/2 pound (225 g) shrimp, fresh or frozen
1/2 pound (225 g) sea scallops, fresh or frozen
2 egg whites
1 cup (25 cl) heavy cream
2 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. chopped fresh dill

2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup (25 cl) crème fraîche or Greek yogurt
1 tsp. curry powder
freshly ground black pepper
lime or lemon pieces
a handful of tender leaves or herbs

If using frozen fish, defrost it thoroughly and dry it off with paper towels before beginning.

Prepare your loaf pan as described above.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 (300 F, 150 C). Make sure the oven rack is positioned low enough to allow space for the terrine to sit on top of the bain-marie.

Cut the salmon into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks. Place half of it in a bowl, the other half in a blender.

Shell the shrimp and chop into bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl. If the scallops are large, cut them in half. If using baby scallops, leave them whole. Add to the bowl.

You will now emulsify the rest of the salmon. Add the egg whites to the blender and blend thoroughly.

Transfer this mixture to a separate large bowl. Stir in the heavy cream. Add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, the cilantro and 2 tbsp. of the dill. Mix thoroughly.

Transfer the chopped salmon, shrimp and scallops into the creamy salmon mixture. Stir to blend well. Pour into your loaf pan.

Place a pot of water on the stove to boil. Fill a round or square cake pan about halfway up with the boiling water. Place in the oven. Carefully place the loaf pan on top of it crosswise.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Set on a rack and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, transfer the crème fraîche or Greek yogurt to a small bowl. Stir in the curry powder, in 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tsp. chopped fresh dill and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Use a very sharp knife to slice the terrine, and cut slices thick enough to hold together. Serve on individual plates. Garnish with tender leaves and a spoonful of the curry cream sauce, perhaps adding a piece of lemon or lime. Serves 8.


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