Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recipe: Liebfraumilch with Salmon and Cucumber

This is one of the recipes that was made for the 1960s/70s party.  Instead of salmon, as stated on the menu, smoked trout was substituted.  The flavours were the sourness/sweetness of the German wine with a smoky taste of the moist trout alongide the crunch and subtleness of the baby cucumber.  This is a basic layered jelly appetizer that has to be made in steps. 

Warm about a cup of Liebfraumilch, a sweet German wine, add enough gelatin to set the liquid.  Whatever the package says on it will do. 
Most gelatins need to be bloomed which means that a little gelatin has to be sprinkled over some of the wine before adding it to the warm liquid.  I am not putting all the variations in this recipe.  Just ensure that you have enough gelatin to set the liquid chosen.
Then pour into a pan.  I used an 8x8 non stick brownie pan because I was trying to serve fifteen people.  Put that pan and the mixture along with it into the fridge until set.

After it has been set, take another cup of the wine and warm it for the second layer of gelatin. 

Cut smoked trout into strips and lay it on the previous layer.  Slice thin strips of baby cucumber however you want.  If you slice it crosswise, then it is a totally different recipe. Okay, the little recipe humour is over.  Use whatever shape works for your dish.  Think of what you want it to look like.  The cucumber can be put it on top of the fish now, but remember that cucumber floats.  I did that the day of the dinner party, next time I will wait until the next step is completed.

Add gelatin to warmed wine per instructions.  Let cool so that it will not melt the previous layer.

Add cucumber and gelatin mixture and adjust pieces as necessary.  Cool in the fridge.  Now, when it is time to demold, if you have chosen a shallow enough pan with good heat conducting properties, place the mold in warm to hot water. If you have not, then I hope the gelatin just slides out.  Take an appropriate knife or thin spatula, whatever will not scratch the pan and run around the outside.  Unmold and cut into desired shapes.  Best to plate these suckers because it is not attractive looking at people trying to get a jelly piece of something from a serving tray onto their plates.

Some people liked the contrasting flavours of the sour and smoke along with the soothing cucumber.  One person found the whole thing a little too dissonant.  So...

Variations: Sweeter wine would work.  Canned fish would also work.  Other vegetables that are hard enough to give some crunch but will not overpower the wine.  Think zucchini. 

This was a hit at the party as the fish and vegetable suspended in the clear liquid reminded me of those disco shoes with live goldfish. And also most of the attendees liked the taste.  And it looked cool. This dish could easily pair with a salad or as act as a member of the appetizer crew.

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