Thursday, July 26, 2012

Salmon Mousse

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Long before the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook became the IT book to have on your kitchen shelves, there was another wildly popular one called the Silver Palate Cookbook by Julie Rosso and Sheila Rufskin owners of the store under the same name in NYC . It was the most exciting cookbook to hit the market since Julia Child's Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.  Like Julia's cookbooks, it had no photos but the recipes were straight forward, easy to prepare and different.  Everywhere you went in the 1980's, whether for lunch, dinner or drinks, you were sure to find one of its recipes on the menu.  It was fun eating, marvelous presentation and really good food.

Some of the dishes that came out of this cookbook, like Chicken Marbella, became legendary to ladies of a certain age like moi;  and after thirty odd years, they can still make an impression when served to the right crowd on the right occasion.

That looks like a regular loaf pan but it is really one of the two mini loaf pans I used.

Another of the legendary recipes was this salmon mousse, a store staple since the business opened it's doors in the early 80's.  Last weekend,  it made its appearance on my table after a long absence.  After grilling some salmon for dinner and finding myself with more than an ample supply of leftovers, the question was... salmon croquettes or salmon mousse?  The croquettes involved frying during what looked to be another scorcher of a week, so the mousse won hands down.

Even after all this time, this salmon recipe is still innovative and different from anything you've ever had.  It's not pate and it's not a dip or a spread.  It is all of the above plus airy and "moussey".  Great as a first course or an appetizer, it can be served with toast points and a salad for a simple lunch;  or, like my lunch today, with crackers and cherry tomatoes from our garden.

One caveat...don't leave out for a long time on a hot day.  Remember it has whipped cream which will soften in the heat leaving you with a mushy mousse and a couple of sick guest.

I will be posting sporadically until after Labor Day.  I have some guests visiting next month, including Madame Mere, and whatever cooking I do won't involve anything new or too complicated.  One thing that is definitely on the docket is her favorite Peach Pie

For the recipe click below

Salmon Mousse

Yield : At least 12 portions


  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann’s
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated onion
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cups finely flaked poached fresh salmon or canned salmon, skin and bones removed
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Watercress, for garnish
  • Toast, pumpernickel, or crackers, for serving


1. Soften the gelatin in the cold water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the boiling water and whisk the mixture slowly until the gelatin dissolves. Cool to room temperature.
2. Whisk in the mayonnaise, lemon juice, grated onion, Tabasco, paprika, salt, and dill. Stir to blend completely and refrigerate until the mixture begins to thicken slightly, about 20 minutes.
3. Fold in the finely flaked salmon. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it is thickened to soft peaks and fluffy. Fold gently into the salmon mixture.
4. Transfer the mixture to a 6- to 8-cup bowl or decorative mold. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
5. Garnish with watercress, and serve with toasts, pumpernickel, or crackers.

I make mine the day before as I think the texture is firmer if left overnight in the fridge. I also pour into 2 mini loaf pans as shown in the photos.  That way I can serve one and save one for later. 


© 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 2007 Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins
All photos Lindaraxa


  1. Dear Lindaraxa,
    I love your blog and think you have such good taste! This recipe brought back memories to me. My recipe came from an old friend, and she made hers in a fish mold but her recipe was almost identical to the Silver Palate one you have posted. After filling the mold with the mousse mixture, she would add 2 cups of small-curd cottage cheese, which would be on the bottom when unmolded. She added a sour-cream dill sauce with fresh lemon to serve alongside. I'm sure she always used canned salmon but now I want to make it using your recipe and fresh salmon. This is a great summer lunch dish too! Thanks for the memory and the inspiration.

  2. Francie,

    Thank you for your kind comments.

    Fresh ingredients are a game changer when it comes to a recipe like this. Plan to cook salmon for dinner the night before you make it making extra for the mousse. That's how I plan a lot of my meals...always thinking leftovers!

    You can add a dill sauce on the side if you are serving as a first course. I was going to post one but felt it was an overkill.

    Dill Sauce:

    1 English cucumber, peeled, grated and drained for 1 hour
    1 cup sour cream
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 small clove garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

  3. This book defined my understanding of "fancy food" for many years. It feels a bit dated now, but I find I still open it to read from time to time, always with reward.

  4. Mouth watering delicious foods are here.. wow!!!


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