OK, for most Americans, this is going to sound like a weird dish – a mousse made from Mortadella – Italy’s inspiration for American baloney. But trust me!!
Although thought of as French, mousses, pâtés and terrines of meat, poultry and seafood have been prepared for centuries all over Italy. Italian food authorities insist that this preparation was created in Italy and exported to France, a point debated with zeal by French chefs.
Perfect as an appetizer to an elegant dinner, it is delicious. Substitute other cooked hams, poultry or oil-packed tuna or smoked salmon for the mortadella.
This recipe is adapted from Lynne Rossette Kasper’s The Splendid Table.
Recipe for 8 as an antipasto.
Ingredients and Directions:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup of poultry/meat stock
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ teaspoon plain gelatin soaked in 3 tablespoons of stock
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 ounces mortadella (get one thick piece at the deli)
- ¼ cup finely minced onion (use a food processor for best results)
- Sliced bread for serving
Note: Prepare the mousse up to 24 hours ahead of serving. It must chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Remove the mousse from the refrigerator about 40 minutes before serving.
- Melt the butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spatula until smooth. Cook several minutes, until bubbly. Keeping the heat at medium-low, slowly stir in the stock and ¼ cup of cream with a wire whisk.
- Stir until the mixture is smooth. Then whisk constantly 5 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling, thickened and all the raw flour taste has cooked away.
- Thoroughly blend in the gelatin mixture and let simmer for 1 minute. Season with the nutmeg and pepper.
- Roughly chop the mortadella and purée into a smooth paste using a food processor. Turn the purée out into a bowl and blend in the flour-gelatin mixture.
- Using a stand or hand-held mixer, whip the remaining ½ cup of heavy cream. Using a spatula gently fold the whipped cream and the minced onion into the mortadella mixture.
- Put the mixture into small crocks, cover and chill.
Lightly toast the bread slices just before serving. For serving the mousse, it should be lightly chilled but not ice cold. Serve the crocks along with sliced bread for serving as an antipasto.