An appetizer favored by many Japanese, kamaboko is a smooth, steamed fish sausage or loaf. Since kamaboko can often be rather chewy, its texture is unappealing to many Americans. On the other hand, Western-style pâtés and terrines, which are popular Occidental appetizers, tend to be rather rich and heavy by Japanese standards. This cross-cultural recipe retains the creamy, mousselike texture of standard Western terrines without using a single drop of fat! Made with bean curd and fish, it’s liberally seasoned with herbs and spices. Delightful to look at, healthful and delicious to eat, this very different kamaboko will quickly become a favorite at your table.
Place the bean curd and fish of Mixture A in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse-process until smooth, adding the lemon juice, salt, and Japanese pepper as you blend. Add the scallion greens and parsley, and continue to process to a smooth paste. Spoon this mixture into a smooth-sided glass or ceramic loaf pan (
Place the bean curd and fish of Mixture B in the bowl of the processor and pulse-process until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients of Mixture B and continue to process until it’s all smooth and pasty. Spoon this mixture over Mixture A in the loaf pan, being careful not to mix the two, while gently pressing with a rubber spatula to smooth this second layer. Again, tap the loaf pan on a toweled surface to release any trapped air.
Place the loaf in a steamer and steam the terrine for 12–15 minutes. Remove the loaf pan and let the terrine cool until there are no longer any large clouds of steam. Pour off all accumulated liquid. Place a flat plate or tray over the loaf pan, turn it upside down, and unmold the terrine onto it. Rinse out the loaf pan and towel it dry; then, with the help of a broad metal spatula, carefully slip the terrine back into the loaf pan, inverting the terrine so that the green layer is on top and the pink on the bottom.
In a small saucepan, sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the cold water. In another small saucepan, heat the stock and bring to a boil. Season with the syrupy rice wine and soy sauce, and remove the saucepan from the source of heat. Sprinkle the bonito flakes over the seasoned stock and let it sit for 3–4 minutes before pouring it through a cloth- or paper-lined strainer or colander into the softened gelatin. Stir and heat this gelatin until smooth and clear.
Rinse the shiso leaves under cold water, shaking them dry. Trim off the stems. Dip each leaf into the liquid aspic and lay them across the top of the terrine in an attractive pattern. If using flat-leafed parsley, follow the same method of decoration. Chill the terrine for 10 minutes or until the leaves seem firmly “glued” on. Pour the remaining aspic over the terrine and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
When ready to serve, insert a thin, sharp knife around the edges of the loaf pan, to release the aspic-coated terrine. Carefully unmold it and transfer it to a clean cutting board. With a sharp knife, slice away excess clear amber aspic from the ends of the loaf and chop this into a very fine dice. Slice the terrine into six to eight pieces and arrange them on individual plates or, in domino fashion, on a single flat serving tray. Garnish the plates or tray with the chopped aspic and serve immediately, or cover and chill until serving time.
© 1985 Elizabeth Andoh. All rights reserved.