Though quenelle is normally referred to as a shape versus an ingredient/preparation, now a day, you can do a variety of things.
Think of a meatball, but adapt it to seafood. It needs a protein, filler, binder, and cooking method(as mentioned, poaching to keep with tradition)...and seasoning of course.
I have done a whimsical approach of them, being it was the shape, not classic preparation, with everything from crab meat with cilantro and curry(uncooked but used pasteurized crab meat), to champagne poached Salmon quenelle with grapefruit gastrique.
This is a copy and paste of a very traditional preparation:
- For the quenelles:
- 1 lb. skinned flounder or sole (or other mild white fish), well chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 cup well chilled heavy cream
- salt, freshly grated pepper, freshly grated nutmeg
- To Bake the Quenelles:
- 3 Tablespoons of butter + plus extra for greasing skillet & gratin pan
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Gruyère cheese (or a mixture of Gruyère & Parmesan)
1. Put the fish, salt, pepper and nutmeg into a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Add the egg and process to combine.
3. With the machine still running, very slowly add the cream in a thin stream until it is completely absorbed.
4. Butter the sides and bottom of a skillet. Using 2 tablespoons, shape the mousse into ovals and place in the skillet close to each other. Dip the tablespoons into cold water after shaping each quenelle.
5. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil and ladle the boiling water into the skillet to completely cover the quenelles. Bring to a simmer and poach 10 minutes.
6. With a slotted spoon, remove the quenelles and place on paper towels to drain.
7. Butter a gratin dish or other baking dish large enough to hold the quenelles in a single layer. Place the quenelles in the dish and dot with the butter.
8. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for about 6 minutes. Remove from oven, turn on the broiler and broil the quenelles for about 2 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.