Thursday, July 26, 2012
Avocado and mango aspic with shrimp
This was a big hit at home - the Frenchman went back for thirds and even the cat liked it (it contains all his favourite ingredients). I love it. Sour-sweet-salty-creamy-crunchy. The slightly acidic and sweet mango is a classic pairing for creamy avocado, and all the lime juice keeps everything very op en wakker, as one would say in Afrikaans. "Wide awake."
I've often made avocado and mango salads, at least, ever since the owner of Pacific Gourmet looked at my shopping basket and said, You're not going to eat those together, are you? And I thought...Hm, why not? But this is a salad with a twist, which is actually a wobble. An old fashioned aspic, made new. Add some lime and fish sauce and the wobbliness turns very interesting and the terrine very addictive.
Leftover cold shrimp are perfect for this, and if you have some extra after a party or barbecue, no cooking is required. I first barbecued a lot of shrimp for our previous night's supper, using the marinade ingredients below, saving 12 shrimp for the next day's recipe.
The recipe is long, but the method is not hard at all. If you can layer ingredients, you can make this. Have at least 6-7 limes (or lemons) in stock.
If you're cooking shrimp from scratch, start here (or triple the number of shrimp and double the other ingredients for a previous night's barbecue!).
12 medium shrimp tails
1/3 cup cilantro stems, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon jalapeno chile, finely chopped
1 Tbsp non-scented oil (I use coconut)
In a bowl, toss cleaned shrimp tails with all the ingredients of the marinade and leave for a minimum of an hour or up to three hours, to marinate. Heat some non-scented oil in a pan and pan fry the shrimp till just-pink. Remove. Add the marinade ingredients to the pan and reduce till sticky. Pour over the shrimp and allow to cool. When cool, slice each shrimp tail into 3-4 pieces, about 1/4" at most. Reserve.
1 1/2 cups ripe mango, cubed into small pieces (I used 1 large champagne mango)
1/4 cup scallions, white parts, finely sliced
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 pinch salt
10 twists of black pepper
3 cups ripe avocado, quartered and then sliced into chunks (I used 2 avocados)
1/4 cup scallions, green and white parts, sliced very thinly
2 teaspoons jalapeno, sliced paper thinly into rounds, seeds included
6 mint leaves, torn up
For the terrine you need a 1.5 quart size pyrex or ceramic terrine mould.
In a small bowl combine the mango cubes with the 1/4 cup scallions, 4 Tbsps lime juice, salt and pepper and marinate for an hour. After an hour, strain the mango and reserve the marinade.
Add a single layer of avocado, with the pieces just about touching each other - bear in mind this will be the top of your terrine, once it is turned out. Add a layer of mango cubes. Sprinkle the scallions and all the mint across in a fine layer. Add half the shrimp pieces. Add more avocado and the rest of the mango. Add the rest of the shrimp. Add a final avocado layer (which will be the base of the terrine, when turned out).
2/3 cup very hot water
1 packet (1 Tbsp) gelatin
1/3 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon fish sauce
In another small bowl or jug dissolve the gelatin in the 2/3's cup very hot water. When it has dissolved add the 1/3 cup lime juice, sugar, salt, fish sauce. Also add the reserved liquid from the mango. Allow the mixture to cool a little to tepid.
Now pour the gelatin mixture carefully over the contents of the terrine. It should just cover the top layer of avocado.
Put a sheet of wax proof paper over the top and gently press down if the avocado is a little above the liquid surface. You could weigh it down with a couple of cans, or with dry baking beans.
Refrigerate until set, and up to two days (unscientific guesstimate), covered.
To unmould, slide a warmed knife around and down the edge of the terrine. Place a board or large flat plate over the terrine and flip, shaking firmly until you hear plop! If the terrine is stuck for some reason dip its base briefly in a basin of boiling water, and repeat.
To serve, slice with a very sharp small knife, point down, and catch the slices on a spatula or pie lifter. Garnish with cilantro leaves.