The mousse, once the darling of the dining room, fell out of fashion through over-use and was damned as a cheap vehicle for stretching chefs' budgets. But this version of the classic recipe employs luxury ingredients, putting it firmly centre stage. Michael Raffael reports
But there was some justification, too. If â¨a kilo of scallop meat back in the day cost, let's say, £25, two kilos of mousse cost five pounds more. What happened then was a classic â¨baby-and-the-bathwater story. The stars moved on, and where they led, others followed.
The standard version 1:1 meat to cream plus egg white and seasoning remains a classic. It's as good as the person preparing it and the way in which they choose to use it. Instead of the mousse being an end to itself, it can carry other textures and flavours.
At Kinloch Lodge on Skye, Marcello Tully, a senior member of the Roux Baby clan, can claim two decades of experience of mousses created using his mentor's signature recipes.
SCALLOP MOUSSE, LOBSTER â¨AND DILL DRESSING
Costing Kinloch Lodge operates three dinner menus: seven courses for £75, five courses â¨for £65 and four courses for £60. "Cripples" â¨(a lobster missing a claw) in Scotland fetch â¨£10-£12 per kilo compared with undamaged lobsters, which are about £18. Diver scallops fluctuate around £2 each depending on size. Chef Tully allows £5 per portion.
Planning The scallop mousse, which isâ¨10 main portions or 16 tasting menu portions, â¨can be made up to a day in advance.
The cucumber for the garnish is steamedâ¨in vacuum pouches. The dressing is part of the kitchen's basic preparation and is finished during service. Lobsters are steamed live and prepped. The scallop and lobster salpicon is mixed into the mousse. The mousse is steamed in lined hoops to order.
2tbs dill dressing
1 steamed scallop mousse
1/2 lobster tail
1tsp tomato concassé
3 steamed cucumber wedges, cut 1cm thick
Optional: lobster claw
Paint the dressing roughly across the centre â¨of the plate. Place the warm mousse on top.
Cut through the natural sections of the â¨lobster tail and arrange them in a ring on topâ¨of the mousse.
Sprinkle the tomato around the plate. â¨Stand the cucumber wedges on end on the plate, adding the optional lobster claw if you wish.
SCALLOP MOUSSE BASE
Quantities here are for a Thermomix blender. â¨A normal batch size would be double the amount.
300g chilled scallops, flesh only
20g egg white (half a large egg)
300g chilled double cream
Chop the scallops roughly, put them in the Thermomix and blend to a fine purée. Add the salt and egg white. Blend again. Add the double cream. Blend again (1-4).
When blending a small quantity as here, pulse and scrape the mixture to ensure it is perfectly smooth.
Empty the contents into a clean container and chill until required.
â- The colder and fresher the ingredients, â¨the lower the risk of the mousse splitting.
â- Whipping cream mixed with double cream gives a lighter texture.
â- When making small batches of mousse, â¨ensure that the food processor blades â¨are covered.
â- In the past, some chefs would pass the â¨mousse through a drum sieve when preparing quenelles. This isn't essential with modern equipment.
â- Marcello Tully recalls that the Roux brothers would combine white fish with scallop meat, but this was for cost purposes.
One small (approximately 450g) lobster provides enough flesh for the salpicon dice that goes â¨into the mousse. Half the tail is served on topâ¨of one portion.
Steam the lobster for 15 minutes at 85Â°C.
Break off the claws with the articulated joints attached.
To remove the claw meat, break off the pincers.
For each one, place the sharpened tip against the work surface and lever it against the joint â¨until it snaps.
Lay a claw on the board, so that its edge is â¨at right angles to the board. Crack the shell with the back of a chopping knife. Snap the shell along the crack to open up the claw. Remove â¨the flesh.
Crack each of the remaining joints and â¨extract the meat with a small pointed knife.
Separate the carapace from the tail â¨(use the carapace for soups or stocks, etc).
Twist off the fan-shaped end of the tail, pulling out the tail with it if possible.
To free the tail-meat from the shell, squeeze the shell together until it cracks along the back. Shift the pressure and squeeze until the underside cracks.
Scallop mousse with lobster
The mousse contains a scallop and lobster dice, topped with half the tail of a small 400g lobster. On the menu at Kinloch Lodge chef Tully would buy larger cripples. It is also simple to adapt â¨the recipe to langoustines.
Split the lobster tail lengthways and dice half. Add to the meat taken from the claw joints, â¨but reserve a claw for presentation.
2tsp sunflower oil
1tsp finely diced fresh ginger
1/2tsp grated garlic
80g raw diced scallop meat
80g steamed lobster
2tbs chopped parsley
500g scallop mousse base
Heat the oil in a small frying pan until smoking. Add the ginger and garlic. As soon as it becomes fragrant (a few seconds) add the scallop and fry for a few seconds more.
Take the pan off the heat and mix the scallops with the lobster, salt and parsley straight away. Chill and fold into the scallop mousse base.
To prepare the 70mm hoops: wrap clingfilm around the outside of the hoop and over the bases like a tambourine.
Place them on a baking sheet. Spoon about 60g of mousse into each hoop. Flatten the surface with a spatula or spoon dipped in hot water.
Steam for eight minutes at 85Â°C and then turn out.
Storage There are several options:
â- Prepare small batches daily and add the lobster and scallop mixture.
â- Prepare and freeze larger batches, defrost â¨the required amount ahead of service and â¨then add the lobster and scallop mixture.
â- Prepare the mousse in advance and fold in â¨the salpicon before steaming.
CUCUMBER AND DILL DRESSING
2 egg yolks
2tsp Dijon mustard
2tsp caster sugar
2tsp white wine vinegar
250ml (approximate) hazelnut oil
250ml sunflower oil
5g finely diced shallots
2tbs cucumber brunoise
4-5tbs chopped dill
Whisk the yolks, mustard, sugar, vinegar and salt together. Beat in the hazelnut oil a few drops at a time. When it is incorporated, continue adding the sunflower oil to obtain a creamy emulsion. Fold in the shallots, cucumber brunoise and dill. Add a little water to loosen the texture.