This dish featuring salmon wontons checked a lot of boxes for me. We have a salmon entrée on our menu and we accumulate a lot of trim from cleaning and portioning the fillets. I challenged myself to make a dish that could use up this trim so it doesn’t go to waste. I also wanted to make a dish that used a mousseline, partly because it’s a fantastic classic technique, but also because it is a required element in the CCC practical exam.
Most importantly I wanted to make a dish that would be an example of how to adapt a simple traditional preparation for service as a composed dish in a fine-dining setting. To give a specific example, this term a student made siu mai for a project. These are traditional Cantonese dumplings filled with pork and shrimp, a common offering at dim sum. He served three dumplings alongside a little dish of a soy-based dipping sauce. It was all very tasty, but to me didn’t present as a composed appetizer, and didn’t display any of the creativity or visual interest that I think are essential in fine-dining. Put another way, it was tasty, but how was it different than the siu mai you would get at a traditional dim sum service?
So. For this dish I started with another classic Chinese preparation: wontons. Instead of the usual pork and/or shrimp, the filling is a salmon mousseline flavoured with ginger, garlic, and scallion. I used the “diamond” method of shaping wontons, and cleaned up the edges with scissors. While the wontons are delicious, for this to be a composed dish I need more components for flavour, texture, and visual appeal. I added a kabocha squash purée that we use on a couple other dishes, and some sautéed gai choi. Instead of providing a separate little dish or ramekin for the dipping sauce, I made a divot in the squash purée and pooled the sauce within.
To me this plate meets all the requirements:
- The salmon filling itself is unique, and fun variation of the traditional pork and shrimp.
- They are shaped beautifully.
- There are other complementary flavours, textures, and colours on the plate.
- A unique presentation of the dipping sauce.
My longer term goal is to develop a salmon dish that incorporates the trim onto the plate so that the trim is used at exactly the same rate as the tidy portions.
- 8 oz salmon trim, skin and bones removed
- 1 ea egg
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 ea scallion, chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 4 oz heavy cream (1/2 cup)
- ~26 ea wonton wrappers
- Put the salmon, egg, ginger, garlic, scallion, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse processor to combine ingredients.
- With the processor running, slowly stream the cream into the bowl. Continue running processor until a smooth, consistent mousseline has formed. Transfer mousseline toe storage container. If you are able to leave it in the fridge overnight it will have a stiffer consistency that is easier to work with.
- Prepare a small dish of water for sealing the wontons.
- Place ~1.5 tsp mousseline into the centre of a wrapper. Put a small amount of water around the edge of the wrapper and shape and seal as desired.
- Repeat Step 4 with the remaining filling.
- Steam the wontons until they are fulling cooked, about 5 minutes (Rational 300°F, 100% steam).