I don’t watch cooking shows on television much. For me, they’ve become less about food and more about personalities and competition. It’s a peculiar American thing, I suppose, that we love to turn everything into a sport with winners and losers. Still, every now and then, when I’m looking for inspiration, I’ll take a look on the off-chance something I see will grab me. This salad mold is the result of just such an experience.
Just happened upon part of a video where a chef was taking some ingredients and stacking them inside a cylinder to make an impressive presentation. A quick trip to good ol’ Amazon and I found some molds (you can order them here and I’d be very appreciative if you do, or if you’re into DIY, an appropriate size can will work). They arrived yesterday and I couldn’t wait to experiment.
This is the first try, and it turned out pretty well.And already I’m thinking about other possible combinations to stack up.
Stacked, Molded Salad
First thing I did was make a thick yellow paste by roasting a yellow bell pepper with a small Habanero and half a dozen garlic cloves for about ten minutes in a very hot oven, then pureeing them with a bit of olive oil. This I combined with some warmed leftover mashed potatoes and set aside. I didn’t use all the Habanero because I didn’t want too much heat, out of concern that my other ingredients would be overwhelmed.
Next, I combined some chopped smoked salmon with enough mayonnaise to just moisten it, added some capers, a bit of minced shallot and a squeeze of lemon, to make a close approximation of a mousse.
Finally, I cut up an avocado into bite size chunks.
The assembly consisted of putting the cylindrical mold on a small plate, then put in a layer of the potatoes, a layer of avocado chunks, a layer of the smoked salmon mousse and then another layer of potatoes. Slip off the mold and top with some chopped chives and lemon zest and done!
This takes the idea of layered flavors to a new place and now my mind is racing to see what other possibilities I can imagine. I’m sure you’ll see this idea again. Oh, and any suggestions are welcome.