Fish Terrines

Terrines de Poisson

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Fish terrines are deservedly fashionable in France today. The formulas, but for the garnish, vary little, the basic forcemeat being nearly always a mousseline of pike or whiting, sometimes of salmon (raw flesh pounded in a mortar or reduced to a purée in an electrical robot-cutter, egg whites and seasonings worked in, passed through a fine sieve, chilled on cracked ice, heavy cream worked into it vigorously and in small quantities at a time, the last part of the cream being lightly whipped before being beaten in—for cold terrines, about 12 ounces flesh, 2 egg whites, and cups heavy cream are good proportions, and a pinch of cayenne will give it a lift); chopped truffles, chopped pistachios, poached cubed or cut-up scallops, lobster, or shrimps, or skinned and rapidly sautéed eel filets are common internal garnishes; sorrel or tomato mousses are good accompaniments. The Haeberlin brothers (the Auberge de 1’Ill in Illhaeusern, Alsace) serve a terrine of sole filets enveloping a pike mousseline studded with truffles and lobster that is of great delicacy; Michel Guérard accompanies an eel pâté with a watercress mousse that forms an original, and happy, alliance; a terrine of mine I particularly like consists of adding a healthy cupful of puréed raw sea-urchin coral to a basic whiting forcemeat before sieving it and incorporating a handful of chopped pistachios at the same time as the cream. The terrine is lined with sole filets as in the following recipe, and the clean but fragile note of urchin sweetness proscribes any accompaniment other than a trembling fish jelly.