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 Plastic-wrapped seafood sausage An aquatic hot dog with a high-tech twist.
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Plastic-wrapped seafood sausage

Staying with last week's topic for another session but taking a sharp turn off the beaten path, let's examine an offbeat variation on the sausage theme: A white sausage made with a tasty mix of seafood and fish in place of meat, formed into hot-dog-shaped links by replacing the traditional butcher's casings with a modern alternative: Saran Wrap.

Delicately but deliciously flavored and distinctly healthful, these beauties contain relatively little fat and require none for cooking, being gently poached in plain water within their plastic casing ... which, needless to say, is used only to hold them in shape during cooking and is discarded before they reach the plate.

The following basic recipe was absolutely delicious, but as noted, it's easily altered to fit your tastes and what's in the pantry. Just about any combination of fish or seafood will work, and you should also feel free to alter the flavorings to your whim. I can't help but point out, though, that aromatic fresh tarragon from our garden worked so well with this combination of salmon, shrimp and scallops that I can hardly imagine a better choice.

As usual, if you try this recipe, whether you follow my procedure to the letter or ring changes on the culinary tune, I hope you'll let me know how it goes.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

3-4 ounces (about 100g) fresh salmon
4-5 ounces raw shrimp
8 ounces fresh scallops
2 tablespoons (30g) minced onion
1 teaspoon (10g) minced fresh flatleaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
White of 1 medium egg
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
White pepper
1 ounce butter
Juice of 2 lemons


1. Peel the shrimp and cut the seafood and fish into smallish cubes; put them all together in a bowl, stir in about half of the lemon juice (reserving the rest) and put the bowl in the freezer for 10 or 15 minutes while making the other preparations. There's no need to freeze the fish, but by getting it very cold, you'll minimize any "cooking" from the action of the processor blade in Step 3. Feel free to substitute other seafood or fish in proportions to your liking, keeping a total of about 16 ounces (500g). I chose salmon for color and flavor, shrimp for texture and flavor, and scallops for sweetness, and the combination worked nicely.

2. Chop the onion and mince the herbs; separate the egg, saving the yolk for another use. Measure out and organize the other ingredients.

3. Put the chopped onion in the bowl of your food processor and process, using the steel blade, until it's minced very fine. Add the chilled seafood and fish and the parsley and tarragon, and process quickly, using short "bursts," just long enough to yield a coarse mix. Add the egg white, process just until it's mixed, and then process in the crème fraîche with salt and white pepper to taste. The result should be a thick, sticky paste.

4. Divide the result into four portions, and spoon each portion onto a separate square of plastic wrap in a thick strip roughly 4 inches long by 1 inch wide. Roll them in the wrap, twisting the ends tightly until the contents form round, firm and fully packed hot-dog shapes. Secure the twisted ends with paper clips to keep them from loosening, and chill until ready to cook.

5. Choose a saucepan large enough to hold all the sausages. Fill it halfway with water and bring to the boil. Put in the sausages and adjust heat to low, taking care to keep the water at a very gentle simmer. Poach for 15 to 20 minutes, carefully turning the sausages once or twice. They'll swell up a bit and become firm as they cook.

6. Take the sausages out of the water and carefully remove and discard the plastic wrap. Make a quick lemon-butter sauce by melting the butter in a small skillet, then stirring in the lemon juice, whisking quickly over medium-high heat until it thickens slightly. Drizzle this sauce over the sausages and serve with steaming white rice and a salad or green vegetable.

MATCHING WINE: Any crisp, dry white wine suitable for seafood or fish should work well, with a preference for fuller-bodied whites with a good acidic presence. The Feudo Arancio 2002 Grillo Sicilia featured in the July 14 30 Second Wine Advisor - tasting report at
- made a spectacularly good match.

Want a copy that's easy to use in the kitchen? You'll find a simple, plain-text version of these recipes, suitable for printing, online at

If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about this recipe or food and cookery in general, you're welcome to drop by our Food Lovers' Discussion Group, where I've posted this article as a new topic, "FoodLetter: Plastic-wrapped seafood sausage"

Click the REPLY button on the forum page to post a comment or response. (If your E-mail software broke this long link in half, take care to paste it all back into one line before you enter it in your Web browser.)

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Last Week's FoodLetter and Archives

Last week's Wine Advisor Foodletter: Simple sausage (July 8)

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Thursday, July 15, 2004
Copyright 2004 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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