For citrus zest, choose organic fruit if possible and be sure to scrub the fruit well to remove any wax or residue. Cut off only the thin, colored portion of the rind, taking care not to include the bitter white pith. You can use a zester, a tool designed to remove the zest in long, thin strips. A vegetable peeler or a paring knife can also be used, but these tools often produce pieces that are short but wide and need further slicing. Zest may be removed with the fine rasps of a handheld grater as well.
Fromage blanc is a French-style fresh cheese made from cow’s milk. Quark is the German version. Both are tangy and naturally low in fat and are increasingly available in well-stocked food stores. Small-curd cottage cheese or pot cheese may be substituted. If using the former, whirl briefly in a food processor to refine the texture.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma and Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Hors d’Oeuvre, by Brigit L. Binns (Simon & Schuster, 2001).
Note: For a more pungent spread, double the amount of smoked trout.
- 1 1/4 cups fromage blanc or quark
- 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 pound smoked trout fillet, skinned and coarsely chopped
- Finely shredded zest of 2 oranges
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives, plus 1-inch lengths for garnish
- 35 cracked-pepper water biscuits or cocktail-size pumpernickel bread slices
- 1 In a food processor, combine the fromage blanc, cream cheese, garlic, salt and cayenne and process until smooth. Add the smoked trout and half the orange zest, and pulse a few times just to combine.
- 2 Transfer to a bowl and gently stir in the snipped chives. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
- 3 Scoop the mousse into small soufflé dishes or other serving bowls. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Scatter the remaining orange zest and the chive lengths over the top of the mousse and serve with the water biscuits. Makes about 2 cups.