Recipes are only foundations, so my suggestion to you is to make them your own! The "avocado mousse" and the "tomato salad" recipes are two variations of dishes that I had on a recent trip to Chile. My friend Liz Caskey (of Culinary and Wine Experiences, she also has several cook books) had a small cocktail party at her home in Chile for our group where she served her versions of these recipes. She is a talented cook herself and also organizes these fantastic culinary and wine tours in Chile and Argentina. My daughter, Leni, and I ate the most delicious regional and "food-forward" dishes, as well as drank some of the finest wines coming out of Chile today. So, I must give credit where credit is due -- I recommend her website to anyone interested in broadening their culinary horizons!
Leni and I loved Chile, the food, and the people so much that I decided to make these recipes "my own". So, today's recipe is for the avocado mousse appetizer, and you will see how by making even the smallest changes, I have made it my own. So feel free to make your own changes so you, too, can call it your own.
*Recipe serves 4-6 people
1lb fresh tomatillos
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1-2 fresh Serrano chiles
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste
Take the husk off of the tomatillo and rinse under cold water so they're not sticky; pat dry. Coarsely puree in a blender or a food processor the tomatillos, chiles, onion, garlic, and water. Place in a skillet, bring up to boil, and reduce to simmer until mixture thickens -- this takes about 15 minutes to reduce. Cool mixture down completely before using, then add chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt to taste.
1 1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes, seeded and cored (just use flesh)
1 tsp fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
Chop into small dice, approximately a quarter of an inch. Place in a bowl, add quarter of a cup of tomatillo salsa (or more depending on your preference), and stir gently until combined. You could add more chopped cilantro and salt to taste -- too much cilantro can be overpowering and too much salt will make vegetables release too much water, so careful on the salt because you are topping the dish with caviar.
3 Haas avocados, ripe but not mushy
1/2 of a fresh lemon
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 jar salmon roe to top each dish (or enough for 1 tsp per serving)
Cut avocados in half, remove seed and scoop avocado into a bowl. Add a squeeze of half the lemon to help retain green color. Then add the heavy cream. Mash with a fork and then using an electric hand mixer or a Braun handheld food mixer (you can get these at any decent kitchen store) whip until very smooth, like a mousse with no lumps.
I like to use martini glasses for this dish so you can see every layer, or you can use clear shooter glasses if you want a smaller recipe (just make sure a spoon fits in them or use a demitasse spoon). Place about a one-inch layer of tomato and tomatillo salsa on the bottom of glass, and smooth to fit bottom of glass. Then add a 1-inch layer of avocado mousse, and smooth around the glass to create a neat appearance and so that both layers can be seen (see photo for reference). Add one teaspoon of salmon roe. For a decadent appetizer, use any good caviar. Chill in refrigerator for a couple of hours (2 hours should be sufficient), then serve immediately. Enjoy!