Smoked fish, horseradish, black radish terrine

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As in love as I am with this Terrine cookbook, it is not for the feint of heart. Not only are many of the recipes for rillettes and patés and other creations that not everyone wants to see made, much less make themselves, but it is also clear that tested though the recipes may have been in the gram/milliliter measurements, the American measurements were not. Lots of details are missing, too – things like what size pan to use.

Don’t get me wrong: this terrine was delicioso. Mucho so. It just doesn’t look a thing like the picture in the book, which was cut into neat slices and had a whiter overall color. Granted, I used smoked black cod instead of smoked haddock, less black radish because I don’t see how three would have fit into the mix, and added some extra horseradish because that root rocks the house, but none of that fully accounts for the softer, less set texture. Nor does it account for the giant chunks of fish in the picture when the recipe calls for one to “thinly slice” the fish (me thinks a stylist took some liberties). As for the color, I’m assuming my fancy-pants, orange-yolked eggs from free-ranging, active birds who scratch for weeds and bugs might have given the custard its decidedly golden tinge.

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I would make it again to fix the texture and report to you about it then. I’m tempted, I really am. It was a hit with the whole family. But look at that list of ingredients – it’s not exactly the kind of thing I feel like eating everyday. Plus, the book is filled with layered creations I want to try. I’m looking forward, not backwards. So it will be awhile before I make it again. Here’s what I did. If anyone out there wants to firm it up, experiment on my behalf, would you, and report back?

Winter terrine of smoked black cod, horseradish, black radish

This is a lovely, gentle, rich creation. Equally good warm after unmolding and cold out of the fridge the next morning.

1 medium black radish (a.k.a. Spanish radish)

8 oz. smoked fish, I used black cod, haddock or halibut are mentioned in the original

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

5 eggs

1 Tablespoon freshly grated horseradish

2 shallots, as finely chopped as you can manage

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Heat oven to 350. Line a small (8-inch) loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting it overhang over the edges by several inches.

Scrub the radish clean (don’t peel it, you want that black skin to show) and then cut in slices as thin as you can – a mandoline is useful if you have one.

Remove any skin or bones from the fish. Cut or pull into bite-size pieces.

Whisk cream, eggs, horseradish, shallots, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour a thin layer of cream mixture in the pan. Lay down a layer of radish, cover with egg mixture, layer in some fish, cover with egg mixture, and continue layering until all ingredients are in the pan.

Bring the edges of the plastic wrap over the top of the terrine to seal in.

Set the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water – it should go at least half-way up the outside of the terrine pan, three-quarters of the way up is even better.

Bake until terrine is set, about 45 minutes. Remove from water bath and let cool to warm before unmolding the terrine onto a serving platter or cutting board.