Pressed veal head terrine


  • Serves 16 people

"We serve this terrine at Bones," says James Henry. "The garnish is my loose version of a classic gribiche." Veal head isn't readily available in Australia, but you can order it from specialist butchers. Ask them to clean and quarter the head for you. If you can't get a head, you can substitute veal cheeks and tongue. The terrine is large enough to serve a crowd, but it will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. You'll need to begin this recipe three days ahead to brine the veal head and set the terrine.

  • 1 kg sea salt
  • 1 veal head (about 6kg), cleaned and quartered
  • 2 each onions, carrots and celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 40 gm (1/3 cup) cornichons, finely chopped
  • 50 gm (1/3 cup) salted capers, rinsed and finely chopped
  • To serve: mayonnaise, chervil sprigs, fennel tops and extra-virgin olive oil
01   Stir salt and 2 litres water in a stockpot over low heat until salt dissolves, remove from heat and add 8 litres cold water. Cool completely.
02   Rinse veal head under cold running water and divide between two 10-litre non-reactive containers. Add enough brine to cover completely, weight with a plate, cover and refrigerate for 2 days.
03   Drain veal head (discard brine), rinse thoroughly and place in a stockpot. Add onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and enough cold water to cover completely. Bring to the boil, skim scum from surface, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer, skimming occasionally, until meat falls from the bone (2½-3 hours). Cool head in stock; to speed this process, place stockpot in a sink of cold water, replacing the water after 30 minutes. When head is cool enough to handle, coarsely shred meat and set aside (discard skin and bones).
04   Strain cooking liquid, then simmer 500ml cooking liquid in a large frying pan over high heat until reduced by half (5-6 minutes; discard remaining liquid and vegetables). Be careful not to over-reduce or it will become too salty. Strain through a fine sieve, whisk in Dijon mustard and set aside to cool.
05   Spoon meat into a 23cm x 10cm x 7.5cm-high oiled terrine mould. Place on a tray to catch any drips, pour in enough reduced cooking liquid to cover meat, cover with plastic wrap, then weight with food cans and refrigerate overnight to set.
06   On the day of serving, cook eggs in boiling water until hard-boiled (9-10 minutes), drain, cool under cold running water and peel. Separate yolks from whites, push yolks through a fine sieve, finely chop whites, and set yolks and whites aside separately.
07   Turn out terrine from mould and thickly slice. Serve with eggwhite, egg yolk, cornichons, capers and mayonnaise, scattered with herbs and drizzled with olive oil.
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