Thursday, March 29, 2012

Collard Greens Mousse with Parmesan Cream

You know how it is when a particular dish is on your list. You know the list. For me, the list is a constantly growing mental catalog of food ideas I see in cookbooks, magazines, blogs, etc. Once something is on that list, I seem to be reminded of it at every turn. But, if the dish is a little bit complicated or requires specific, seasonal ingredients, I put it off until the time is right. One such dish was the Fluffy Spinach Bites with Fonduta Sauce from Happy in the Kitchen by Michel Richard. It’s a stunning dish. A spinach souffle is baked in a square pan, and then perfect cubes of it are cut for serving. Those cubes of souffle are served with a parmesan fonduta. It’s lovely, but it involves cooking spinach, steaming parsnips, pureeing those with cream and eggs, some gelatin is used to help it set, the souffle is chilled after cooking so those nice cubes can be cut, and then the cubes are re-heated and the cream sauce is made. I did not make this beautiful thing that had been on my list for a few years. Instead, I saw something very similar but simpler in The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson, and I chose the easier option. That version was a mousse of pureed, cooked greens, eggs, and cream cooked in individual ramekins, and each serving was plated with a pool of parmesan cream sauce. When I saw how similar this was to the dish on my list and how much more streamlined making this one would be, it had to happen.

In the book, this is called Spinach Mousse, but I had some gorgeous, fresh collard greens from my CSA and used them instead of spinach. Any greens would work here. You just blanch the chopped greens, drain them, and then squeeze them in a kitchen towel to remove as much water as you can. The squeezed, cooked greens were then placed in a blender with eggs, cream, salt and pepper, and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, and the mixture was pureed. Ramekins were buttered and lined with rounds of parchment paper and then filled with the puree. Each ramekin was covered with foil, placed in a roasting pan, and then hot water was added to the pan before baking. You’ll need to check the texture of the mousse after about 20 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the ramekins used. For me, it took about 30 minutes for the mousse to become set and firm. Making the parmesan cream is a simple matter of heating cream, adding shredded parmesan, stirring until it melts and then simmering until the sauce is as thick as you’d like it to be. And, of course, season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. I felt like the plate needed one more color, so I sauteed some mushrooms to scatter on top of the parmesan cream sauce.

This version was so easy, and the mousse held its shape so well, I’m now going to have to try baking the mousse in a square pan and cutting it into cubes. More importantly, I would definitely try this again because it was a fabulous way to eat your greens. It’s a little rich, but it’s also nice to see such humble greens turned into a decadent, silky mousse gilded with that luscious parmesan cream. Now, I need to get to all those other dishes on my list.


24 comments:

  1. wow! Love the idea of making savory mousse and that too with healthy greens! I am going to try making it soon :) Thanks Lisa :)

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  2. Marvelous! That is such a wonderful creation. I love collard greens.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. The mousse looks so beautiful and appetizing.

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  4. Yum! I made a similar dish - a spinach cake - a while back and I have to say, your mousse has a much nicer consistency. I love anything that combines eggs, cheese and greens. I bet the collards were delish!
    -E

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  5. This is something new! I've gotta try pretty soon...The green color is pretty too.

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  6. I am exactly the same way with my list of recipes - some are so involved that they sit there for years, and the time never seem quite right to face them.

    I think you hit the jackpot with the mushrooms around it - it made the dish!

    (I have Happy in the Kitchen, and there are indeed some pretty involved recipes in that book)

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  7. I would love to try it too. Looks terrific!

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  8. Oh Lisa, what a beautiful and tasty way to eat lots of green...love your presentation...so elegant.
    Have a wonderful weekend :)

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  9. oh wow, that is so neat! i want to try this!!

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  10. Wow it looks very special. What do you think collard greens most resemble, green leafy cabbage?

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    Replies
    1. Tania: Collard greens have big leaves like chard, but the leaves are thick like kale.

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  11. It's so beautiful and so green! Looks very elegant and perfect for any restaurant.. :)

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  12. I would never have thought to make this gorgeous looking mousse with collard greens but it looks fab! Love the color.

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  13. This looks delicious. I see those sauteed mushrooms sitting in your sauce and the entire combination would be perfect for me. It looks so fun to make too!

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  14. Indeed, what a great way to get your greens in! Some days I just can't face another green, leafy salad even though I need it. This looks like a splendid alternative. Good call on adding the mushrooms. I was reading a blog post recently where I learned that mushrooms are the only vegetable source of vitamin D.

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  15. You turned a humble green into something elegant. I'd love to try this with the wild greens I just picked earlier this week.

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  16. What a beautiful fantastic sounding dish. I love savory mousse. Your version looks like spring just landed on a plate. I just saw rows of different Asian greens and now I am intrigued how they would work here.

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  17. This looks spectacular! Even if you didn't make the Michel Richard recipe on your list. Although he is kind of my hero, so my ears did perk up when I saw him mentioned in your post ;)

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  18. and here i was, thinking collard greens were always stringy or vinegary or both! what a masterpiece, and the parmesan cream sounds amazing!

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  19. I thought it was some kind of dessert esp when I saw the word "mousse" but then realized it is savory reading into the details. Absolutely love the idea! Beautiful presentation too!

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  20. This is such a beautiful dish Lisa. I'm always looking for ways to make veg main courses pop visually and flavor wise. Yum!

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  21. Wow, this looks so fancy. I would love to try this.

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  22. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

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