Written By Culinary Pen on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | 8:25:00 PM
Two weeks ago Carla and I took an amazing vacation with her family to the Outer Banks. I'm not a fisherman, but I loved cooking up all the fresh fish that her dad and brother caught. One day I made a fish dip, which was very loose and spreadable. I went down to the beach where Carla's family was sitting and mentioned they could have the dip as a snack whenever they were ready to come up to the house. Carla's dad asked, "Is the dip like a paste?" He then made a quick hand gesture, like spreading butter on toast.As small as it was, I kept thinking about that hand movement. The dip I made was very loose and spreadable, but it would be interesting to make a very firm dip, one that was almost sliceable. So then I decided to make a fish mousseline. A mousseline, or mousse, is just a thick custard of something, anything, bound with eggs and cream. You can make a fish mousse, a chicken liver mousse, or even a ham mousse. I fell in love with the concept and decided to make it as soon as possible.Then a storm came in and the fishing was terrible for the next two days. Undeterred, I bought some wild Atlantic salmon, which was actually very reasonably priced. Then it came to me that we were in a rental house, which has a kitchen stocked with two dodgy pans and half a rolling pin. So I ground the salmon through a pasta colander with my hands. And to be honest, I loved it. After that, it was easy. Mix in salt, cream, and three egg yolks. Combine, then pour them into an oven-safe baking dish to cook in a water bath. I didn't have a good dish, so I decided to cook the entire thing in a well-buttered pyrex measuring cup. I even got fancy and made a little dill mousseline as a bottom layer for contrast.And it almost worked. Aside from the fact that the mousse was too tall, so the weight of the denser salmon mousseline crushed and spread the custard-y dill mousse across the plate. But it was still delicious.