Downton Abbey and the Tale of an Edible Salmon Mousse

This past week’s Downton Abbey had its usual witty remarks from all quarters, Violet yet again leading the pack.  But my favorite by far came from Mrs. Patmore, as she says to Ethel:

Mrs Patmore and Ethel - PBS

“Anyone who has use of their limbs can make a salmon mousse.”


My mother-in-law always made salmon mousse – I cannot recall a single family gathering where it was not upon the table, eye and all – and to keep me from forgetting these family gatherings, I actually inherited her much-used salmon mousse mold – but alas! have not put it to any use, despite having all limbs in fairly good working order.

But recipes abound if you should want to try – and if Ethel could pull this off, it should be easy sailing:

This is from the website Downton Abbey Cooks, worth a visit for the show’s food history and great recipes [there IS a great deal of cookikng and eating!], all from Pamela Foster, author of Abbey Cooks Entertain:

Smoked Salmon Mousse Pinwheels

DA Cooks - salmon mousse pinwheels

a colorful dish for cocktails or tea.

This sandwich adds a lovely punch of color to your tea tray, contrasting dark pumpernickel bread with deep orange smoked salmon. The Ritz London serves a similar version with whisky, but I like the fresh flavors of vodka and dill. You are only limited by your imagination.


  • 1/3   cup non fat greek yoghurt
  • 1      tbsp. minced chives
  • 2      tbsp. whisky
  • 4      ounces smoked salmon
  • 1      1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

For the Sandwiches

  • 12      slices dark wheat or pumpernickel bread, crusts removed
  • 2      ounces cold smoked salmon, cut into strips: you can also use hot smoked      salmon as pictured above


To make the mousse

Put the greek yoghurt, chives, vodka, salmon, lemon juice and pepper in a food processor and process for 20 to 30 seconds or until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days to let the flavours blend.

To make the sandwiches

Roll the bread slices flat with a rolling pin . Spread the salmon mousse on one side of each slice and arrange pieces of smoked salmon on top. Roll up and place seam side down on a serving plate. Cover with a damp tea towel or paper towels until ready to serve.

You can make larger pinwheels by cutting in half diagonally and stand on the flat edge. You can also cut into smaller bite sized 2 inch angled sections.

Makes 12 large or 24 mini pinwheels

book cover - Abbey Cooks


Here are links to other recipes, some made in the mold, some in bowls:


Perhaps Ethel’s praise-worthy attempts to be a cook who actually cooks something edible and Mrs. Patmore’s kindness in helping, despite the grousing of Mr. Carson, might indeed see “the return of the salmon mousse,” even in my house.

Salmon Mousse - Food Network

Salmon Mousse – Food Network

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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