Book: Crazy Rich Asians
Deliciousness rating: Outstanding
The second course of our Crazy Rich Asians Dinner.
The second course had just been served — a surprisingly tasty langoustine and calamansi lime geleé terrine (Kwan 202).
WTF Do All These Words Mean?
- langoustine: Langoustine is a rare and exceedingly pricey mini-lobster that’s only found in the North Atlantic and parts of the Mediterranean. Bon Appetit wrote a whole article about how it’s incredibly delicious and hard to get. Apparently, the only way to get it in the U.S. is to order it frozen, starting at $64 for 2 lbs (2 lbs INCLUDING the shells, mind you), NOT INCLUDING SHIPPING. Now, we typically don’t hesitate to splurge on ingredients for this blog, but even for us, that’s a bit crazy. We thought lobster and giant shrimp would suffice.
- calamansi lime: The calamansi lime is an intergenetic hybrid, probably between the mandarin orange and the kumquat. To us, it tastes like an orange but without the sweetness. You can eat the peel, which is a little sweeter. Luckily, we have a local calamansi lime grower who comes weekly to a farmer’s market 20 minutes from our houses!
- gelée: “a cosmetic gel” (Google). In other words, fancypants Jell-O. By the way, the book totally spelled it wrong. Tsk tsk, editor.
- terrine: “a meat, fish, or vegetable mixture that has been cooked or otherwise prepared in advance and allowed to cool or set in its container, typically served in slices,” according to Google.
We consulted a number of sources on this and even called a restaurant in another state who had made a similar dish. No one was any help at all — most thought it sounded completely gross, and the restaurant told us that calamansi limes were “just the same thing as lotus root.” Uh, what?? No.
At this point, we realized we would have to go it alone, and damn the haters.
So we developed our vision:
- A thin top layer of savory calamansi lime geleé on top (we took inspiration from this recipe for yuzu gelée);
- A thick bottom layer of shellfish mousse that we would also set with gelatin; and
- Everything molded and set in a loaf pan so we could cut it into slices.
“LANGOUSTINE” & CALAMANSI LIME GELEÉ TERRINE
- Glass loaf pan, greased with olive oil (ours was about 1 quart, and we had almost 1 cup of mousse left over once we put in the gelée)
- Butter lettuce for garnish
- Melba toast
- 2/3 cup of shellfish stock
- Olive oil
- Shells of 1 lobster and 3 giant shrimp
- A couple of carrots
- Bay leaf
- 4 tbs calamansi lime juice (We used 10-15 calamansi limes.)
- Thinly sliced calamansi limes (We got about 1 good slice from every lime.)
- 2/3 cup of shellfish stock
- Sheet gelatin (7.2g of sheet gelatin per one cup of liquid), bloomed in water for at least 10 minutes
- Vegetable oil, for greasing
- 2 tsp calamansi lime juice
- 5 sheets leaf gelatine, bloomed in cold water for at least 10 minutes
- Meat from 1 cooked lobster
- 3 giant shrimp (about 2 oz), peeled and cooked
Our request that probably convinced the Point Loma Seafood staff that we were crazy: “Hello, could we get a lobster and exactly 3 of those giant shrimp?”
- 150g mayonnaise
- 200ml heavy cream
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp of fresh parsley, minced
- Make the shellfish stock. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the shellfish shells and cook for up to 10 minutes.
- Add carrots, onions, celery, a pinch of salt, parsley, and a bay leaf for luck. (We don’t really understand what bay leaves do — we even made a tea out of them to try to figure out what flavor they contribute, and while the tea was quite refreshing, we’re still not quite sure what the deal is.)
- Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Cover with water and bring just to a boil. Lower heat to simmer for 20 minutes. (In the meantime, cook the shrimp in the simmering stock until it turns opaque and curls up a bit.)
- Strain stock through a paper towel (to catch the extra oil) and measure out 2/3 cup.
- Make the calamansi lime geleé layer. Put the bloomed gelatin in a microwave for about 20 seconds or until it just starts to bubble.
- Add the melted gelatin to the 2/3 cup stock and the 4 tbs calamansi lime juice, stirring to combine.
- Pour into a greased glass loaf pan.
- Add calamansi lime slices for decoration. Refrigerate so the gelée sets just a little. Then, you can move the lime slices into a pretty pattern. Once you’re done, refrigerate until set (ours was good to go in an hour, probably less).
- Make the “langoustine” mousse layer. Put 100ml cold water and the 2 tsp lime juice in a saucepan and warm through for a few seconds. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Squeeze any extra water out of the gelatin. Microwave in a bowl for about 20 seconds or until dissolved. Stir.
- Put lobster meat, shrimp, and mayonnaise in the food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the gelatin into the food processor while it’s still on. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add parsley and season with salt and black pepper.
- Whip the cream in a bowl until you get soft peaks. Fold the lobster mixture into the cream and add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
- Pour the mousse mixture into the mold, on top of the calamansi lime layer.
- Smooth the top and cover with a lid. If your loaf pan doesn’t have a lid, use plastic wrap. We had extra mousse so we put it in another container. Refrigerate overnight.
- Unmold the terrine. Remove the terrine from the fridge, remove the lid or plastic wrap, and put the mold in hot water until it starts looking a little soft at the edges. Metal pans will take no time, but since ours was thick glass, it took a while. Run a knife along the edges to break the seal and turn onto a platter covered with butter lettuce.
- Smooth the edges, decorate as you like, and serve on melba toast.
Did it measure up?
Holy shit, it worked. We seem to have terrible luck with recipes that require gelatin or setting, so we couldn’t believe it when the terrine unmolded beautifully in one piece.
Miko: It was pretty incredible. I might even say “surprisingly tasty.” Of course, it is exactly the kind of thing I would love, but it’s also unlike any dish I’ve had before. I thought the citrusy savory gelée layer really balanced out the mousse. I was quite proud of us for creating this recipe.
Jenne: I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was indeed surprisingly tasty! It seemed like something you would have had at a fancy hotel in the 1950s.
Kwan, Kevin. Crazy Rich Asians. New York: Doubleday, 2013.