Growing up, the holidays - or any occasion where extended family got together - always meant good food.
The family members doing the cooking tended to be creatures of habit, so I usually had a good idea of what to expect.
Summer events would usually include Gramma's Potato Salad.
The Mousse Mystery
There’s one thing I vaguely remember having, but without any context at all - Seafood Mousse.
I can picture it, I just can’t picture it in the context of the holidays. I don’t have any real memories associated with it, and I can’t picture it on the holiday table.
... and I don’t remember how it tasted. Which is weird, because my autistic-enhanced sense memory is ... ridiculous.
I know it was a THING... so much so that my maternal unit published it in at least one community/school fundraiser cookbook.
Did I not like it? You’d think I’d have a specific memory of NOT liking it, right?
I don’t know. Brains are weird.
Anyway, a few years ago we sampled some crab mousse at a fair, and it was fantastic!
It reminded me of the fact that seafood mousse was a thing - on some level - when I was a kid.
So, I called my great aunt and asked if happened to have the recipe. She tends to collect the books we publish in. She had it, and emailled it to me.
Mystery solved, I think: Given the ingredients, I’m guessing I did NOT like it.
Canned salmon with canned shrimp and crab... twice as much salmon as there is shellfish. Weird.
⅓ cup chili sauce? That seems excessive.
SWEET PICKLE RELISH?
Ew. Sweet pickle anything is a big NO from me. (Sorry!)
The Seafood Mousse Makeover
There wasn’t a lot to work with there, so I decided I’d be coming up with my own seafood mousse recipe.
First off: No salmon.
Salmon mousse is one thing, seafood mousse is another, IMHO. Salmon has such a strong taste, it’ll completely overpower the more delicate flavours of the crab and shrimp.
I can’t see the point in paying any kind of premium prices for ingredients, only to completely clobber them with a stronger taste, IMHO.
Same goes for all that chili sauce. I’m all for a bit of heat, but again... overwhelming.
I kept the seafood as canned versions for the base. I like the convenience involved with that, especially with the way grocery shopping logistics have been, of late.
From there, I mostly went in the direction of my lobster roll filling: Dill, green onion, celery, lemon, etc.
It’s fancied up with a bit of dry white wine, and the bit of spice comes from Smoked Paprika. Enough to accent, not enough to overpower.
This comes together very quickly - less than 10 minutes of effort - and is delicious.
Serve this seafood mousse up as you would a pate, with your favourite crackers, cheeses, and veggies slices.
Seafood Mousse Variations
While this mousse is great as it is, there is a ton of room to tweak it to your own tastes. A few ideas:
Shrimp OR Crab Mousse: Feel free to use all shrimp, or all crab. Just do 2 cans of whichever you want, instead of one of each.
Fresh Seafood: Not feeling the canned? Use ½ lb of fresh - but cooked! - shrimp and/or crab instead of canned.
No Wine: If you don’t want the white wine, you can use the same amount of chicken or seafood stock, if you prefer.
Spicy Seafood Mousse: After combining the main ingredients - but before adding the gelatin - add a bit of Sriracha or Jeow sauce, to taste.
How to Make Seafood Mousse
I like to use a mini food processor for this. Mine holds just 2 or 3 cups of food, and is perfect for this.
Large food processors don’t always do a great job of things, when dealing with small amounts of ingredients.
So, I’ll rough chop the celery and green onion, then use the mini processor to finely mince them. Afterwards, I'll use the processor to whip the heavy cream - no need to wash it out.
Spray a 2 cup mold or glass bowl with a bit of pan spray, use a paper towel to wipe it down to leave a thin, smooth coating of oil.
Note: I just use a 2 cup Anchor Hocking storage bowl for this. They have lids, so it’s very convenient!
While the mousse is prone to having air bubbles - just by virtue of being a mousse! - sprayed on oil can leave an ugly texture on the unmolded mousse.
Sprinkle gelatin over wine, allow to absorb for at least 5 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
After draining your seafood, pick through it in case there are any bits of shell or cartilage to remove.
Chop up your celery and green onion; add to the seafood along with the rest of the ingredients.
Taste it and adjust the seasonings if you’d like.
Once you’re happy with it, microwave the gelatin in 10 second increments until it’s completely liquid. Stir gelatin into the bowl of combined ingredients.
Spoon it into your mold.
Chill until set, about 3 hours.
Unmold onto serving plate and serve surrounded by crackers and/or cucumber slices.
More Fancy Recipes
Planning for a special dinner, whether Valentine’s Day, a special date, or a fancy dinner party? Here are a few recipes to consider!
Balsamic Mushroom Baked Brie
Beet & Goat Cheese Ravioli
Boozy Crème Brûlée
Chocolate Dessert Ravioli
Clementine Mousse with Champagne
Easy Kahlua Panna Cotta
Fancy Tea Sandwiches
Gluten-Free Crab Cakes and Horseradish Sauce
How to Make Cream Puffs & Croquembouche
Mushroom Brie Turnovers
Mushroom & Goat Cheese Braid with Balsamic Glaze
Pepper Crusted Tuna with Wasabi Cream Sauce
Phyllo Crab Triangles
Savory Tomato Shortcake
Traditional Raspberry Mousse
White Chocolate Almond Amaretto Truffles
Share the Love!
Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
- 1 pkg Unflavoured gelatin
- ¼ cup Dry white wine
- 1 can Crab meat drained, flaked
- 1 can Small shrimp drained and finely chopped
- ¼ cup Finely minced celery
- ¼ c. Heavy cream whipped until thick
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp Finely minced green onion
- 2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Dill weed or 1 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- ½ tsp Fresh lemon zest
- ¼ tsp Smoked Paprika
- Spray a 2 cup mold or bowl with a bit of pan spray, use a paper towel to wipe it down to leave a thin, smooth coating of oil.
- Sprinkle gelatin over wine, allow to absorb for at least 5 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine remaining ingredients, aside from salt and pepper.
- Once everything else it mixed, microwave the gelatin in 10 second increments until it’s completely liquid. Stir gelatin into the bowl of combined ingredients.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and spoon into prepared mold.
- Chill until set, about 3 hours.
- Unmold onto serving plate and serve surrounded by crackers and/or cucumber slices.