Make Ahead

Very Versatile Seafood Mousse

July 28, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves several as an hors d'oeuvre, 2 for dinner
Author Notes

The versatility lies in the fact that you can successfully mousse up a fairly wide variety of seafood. I used shrimp (21-25s), but you can also use scallops (bay or sea), salmon, even tilapia. Each blends a bit differently with the luscious steaming vegetables, but the result is always good. The soft, cool consistency of the final mousse carries the range of flavors wonderfully: hints of sweet from the seafoods and the leeks and the fennel, bright tartness from the lemon, and surprise from the chile peppers.

The wine. Further on the versatile theme, use what you like. If you have half a bottle of whatever sitting around, great. I've even used flat champagne.

As for pairing, it's lovely with a chilly Prosecco, as well as with a limoncello spritzer with a sprig of fresh thyme in it. —boulangere

What You'll Need
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced thin, fronds reserved
  • White part of 1 leek, washed, and sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 dried japones chiles
  • 2 dried chiles de arbol
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • 1/2 bottle white wine
  • 1/2 pound of shrimp, or scallops, or salmon, or tilapia
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • All of the seafood
  • Handful of the steaming vegetables
  • All of the steamed red peppers
  • Ladleful of the steaming liquid
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fennel fronds, some chopped, some whole
  • 1 baguette sliced and gently toasted
  • Fresh lemon wedges
  1. Add all the ingredients for steaming your seafood, except the seafood, to a stainless steel pot with a lid. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat and set the pot off the burner. Let sit for 5 minutes for the flavors to blend and the peppers to soften.
  2. Set a bowl in the sink, then set a colander in the bowl. You’ll want to collect the steaming liquid so as to use some of it in the mousse. And rather than pour the rest down the drain, think about freezing it for some future use - another mousse, or a soup.
  3. Shrimp can go in whole, but cut fish fillets into 1” or so chunks. Return the pot to medium-high heat, and bring back to a boil. Add the seafood all at once. Cover the pot and steam until done. The length of time will depend on what you are steaming. Regardless, remove the pot from the heat just BEFORE the contents appear done. They will finish cooking while you move from the stove to the sink and pour everything into the colander.
  4. Use a set of tongs to pick out the seafood and also to grab the equivalent of a generous handful of the vegetables - about a cup-and-a-half. Be sure to pull out the chiles, too; break each into a few pieces. Spread everything out on a baking sheet and set in the refrigerator to cool down. Keep the remaining vegetables to serve re-warmed over pasta or polenta; alternatively, toss them into a salad.
  5. Meanwhile, use your hands to break up the soft cream cheese into chunks and drop them into the bowl of a food processor. Add lemon juice and zest, and pulse to blend. Remove the chilled ingredients from the refrigerator and add them all. Dip out a ladle of the liquid leftover from steaming and add about half of it. Pulse the food processor to blend everything, but not so much that the mousse becomes perfectly smooth. It will taste much better if there is some substance to it. It should have a gentle, spreadable consistency. Add more steaming liquid and pulse a few more times if necessary. Finally, season to taste with salt and pepper. If it isn’t quite spicy enough for you, add some drops of Sriracha. Divide between a couple of ramekins and garnish with chopped fennel fronds.
  6. Serve with lightly toasted slices of baguette and some wedges of fresh lemon. Arrange some of the whole fennel fronds around the serving platter.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Bevi
  • boulangere
  • wssmom
  • hardlikearmour
  • inpatskitchen

16 Reviews

Bevi March 23, 2013
I remember this and the beautiful majolica platter in your photo. I am going to make this for an Easter brunch next weekend. Thank you for reposting!
boulangere March 23, 2013
Great minds and all that, Bevi - I'm taking it to an Easter potluck also! Have a wonderful brunch!
boulangere March 24, 2013
P.S. It's a dreadful photo, but I'm glad you like the platter. It's one of my favorites also.
boulangere October 1, 2011
I taught this in a class last night, and we all talked about how it sort of rolls across your palate. First comes the sweetness of the shrimp, then the tart of the lemon and the poaching liquid, and finally that wonderful hot finish. There was one woman after my own heart: she said it could have been even hotter for her. Music to my smoking ears!
lapadia March 23, 2013
Damn, I missed class!
boulangere March 23, 2013
wssmom July 30, 2011
Drooling on the way to the fishmonger to make this ASAP....
boulangere July 30, 2011
I'd love to hear how it turns out for you.
hardlikearmour July 28, 2011
Oh, yum! This may be even better than your chicken mousse.
boulangere July 28, 2011
LOL! Way different!
inpatskitchen July 28, 2011
Love this...I'm a seafood freak. Thanks for sharing and welcome back!!
boulangere July 28, 2011
Oh, me too. I keep saying this, and it's true: as much fun as we had, it's always wonderful to come home. Thank you so much, Pat!
inpatskitchen July 28, 2011
A long, long time ago I spent a summer living in Hannover, Germany and then 2 years later spent another ten weeks traveling Europe... Great fun and wonderful experiences but home is ALWAYS the best!!
boulangere July 28, 2011
Oh, you're so right. The adventure, the new, the wonderful, are all the more poignant when balanced with home. I'm so glad neither the daughter nor I took along computers. I was reduced to making notes of thoughts on paper, and actually grew to love being unplugged for a while. Since coming home, I'm thinking about setting times to be on-line and times to be not.
lorigoldsby July 28, 2011
mmmm...mousse! another knock out B!
boulangere July 28, 2011
Oh, Lori, it's so simple! It takes minutes, doesn't overheat the kitchen, you can serve it right out of the food processor, and the liquid from steaming lightens up the cream cheese. Please let me know what you think if you try it!