Today is Festive Friday and the weekend is here! Are you hosting a party or having friends over for dinner? When the weather is warm I look for recipes that are cool and refreshing. This mousse is perfect for warm summer evenings, a lovely brunch, or baby shower. It is elegant and refined enough for the fanciest affairs and equally perfect for serving at the neighborhood block parties.
I got this recipe from my friend Linda Burns, one of the best cooks I’ve ever known. She has three beautiful daughters so her days are busy. The last thing she has time for is a time consuming recipe. No matter what she serves for dinner, it is guaranteed to be fantastic and easy to put together quickly. There are people you meet in your life that are naturals in the kitchen. Everything comes easily to them and they have all the confidence in the world when it comes to cooking and baking. They have an inherent instinct for what tastes good together. Linda is one of these incredible natural cooks.
If you are anything like me, you have several appetizer recipes that you know you can take to any party and everyone will be thrilled to see them arrive. This is one of those recipes where you look at the ingredients and shake your head, thinking there is no way this is going to taste good. But you will be surprised. This is velvety and very rich tasting. I don’t normally use canned condensed soups, but this is one case where it is necessary for the consistency and flavor. If you absolutely don’t want to use a store-bought canned soup, you can make your own version. There are hundreds of recipes for them on the web.
This is one of my all time favorites because it is incredibly easy to make, delicious to eat, and can be made ahead. The ingredients are easy to have on hand and you can whip this up in just a few minutes. I like to serve it with crackers or a thinly sliced baguette and garnish the plate with bright yellow lemon slices. If you are gluten-intolerant, try it with gluten-free crackers such as Nut-Thins from Blue Diamond or thick cucumber slices.
If you have never made a jell-o mold, it is really fun. You pour in something that is semi-liquid, set it in the refrigerator for a while and it turns into a solid form. It is like magic! Buy a couple of pretty copper molds and use them as decorations on the wall in your kitchen. Then when you are having a party, you can pull one down and use it to make this appetizer.
Make sure you keep the mousse in the refrigerator, unmolded, until time to serve. When it is time to remove the mousse from the mold, you can dip it in hot water or wrap the outside of the mold with a hot towel to make it easier for the mousse to release. Oiling the form ahead of time will also help.
This mousse is normally formed in a single 4-cup mold, but you can also use smaller, individual ramekins or other decorative molds for more formal events. If you make individual sizes, invert them onto a lettuce leaf or scoop onto red cabbage leaves on small salad plates, and garnish the plate with fresh dill, parsley and lemon slices. Fan a few crostini, crackers, or baguette slices on the plate and serve.
I love that this recipe makes a generous sized appetizer. There are usually leftovers, which I happily eat the next day. When you are making this for your next party, give me a call. I’ll be over with a spoon to eat up all the leftovers!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
This holds well for a couple of days so you can easily make it ahead and have it ready well in advance of your party. No last minute fuss with this one except to unmold it and place it on the platter you’ve already prepared!
If you want to make the cream of mushroom soup from scratch, try one of these recipes for homemade versions. From GlutenFreeCookingSchool, AdventuresOfAGlutenFreeMom, or GlutenvyGirl. You might be so impressed that it becomes your new standard!
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin (*see Note)
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (for gluten-free, use Health Valley or Pacific Natural gluten-free brands)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red or orange bell pepper, optional
- 3 scallions or green onions, minced
- 1 tsp minced fresh garlic, about 2 large cloves
- 1 tsp lemon pepper, or to taste
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 12 to 16 oz flaked crabmeat (fresh if available; or canned [rinsed & drained] works well as a substitute)
- Parsley sprigs for garnish
- Lemon slices for garnish
- Dissolve gelatin in water in a small bowl and set aside. Lightly oil a 4-cup metal mold (often used for Jell-O molds); set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat undiluted soup stirring until melted and smooth. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add dissolved gelatin, whisking to incorporate. Add remaining ingredients, except crab and garnishes, stirring to make sure everything is well blended and distributed evenly. Gently fold in crab using a flexible spatula.
- Pour into oiled mold and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Cover top with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the mousse and place in refrigerator. Chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Keep mousse molded and refrigerated until just before serving. To help the mousse release, dip mold in hot water being careful not to get any water on the mousse, or wrap it with a hot towel for a few seconds before inverting onto plate or platter. Set the serving plate on top of the mold, hold the two together and quickly flip it upside down. Wiggle the mold gently to help ease the mousse out of it. If it is stubborn, wrap the mold again with a hot towel. If everything else fails, turn it back over and very gently insert a knife between the mousse and the mold, breaking the vacuum seal. Place the plate on top of the mold and flip them over together again. This time it should release immediately!
- Garnish the plate with parsley and lemon slices and serve mousse with a variety of crackers. My favorite gluten-free crackers are Nut-Thins from Blue Diamond. Try their new Artisan varieties - they would be awesome with this crab mousse!
- Yield: about 15 to 20 appetizer servings
- Unflavored gelatin is found next to the “Jell-O” display. It comes in a small box containing individual packets.
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