Thursday, January 8, 2009

Personal Comfort Food Favorites plus...Salmon Gravlax Myrna

I got an e mail from someone who accused me of Caloric Seduction. It was the first time I had heard the term. She stated that I could not possibly eat the types of recipes I post all the time as I would be huge.

She is right, I don't. I cook something wonderful and sumptuous about twice a week. I tend to graze, I am more of a tapas and anti pasta guy. I like a little bit of a lot of different foods, along with some salad and a bit (two ounces) of pasta a couple of times a week.

I my defense I have posted some of the healthier options but I will refresh memories with a few links to my favorites, and the types of things that one typically finds in my refrigerator along with such staples as olives, anchovies, and truffle butter.

My favorite winter salad is the faux ceaser, and spring through fall I often have a Bulgarian Shopska sitting in the refrigerator. I make enough for a few days and it gets better each day.

and olive tapenade are often side by side waiting for a little flat bread and a glass of wine to accompany them.

I do a lot of vegetable dishes...and while patty pan is not in season year round I make this one with eggplant and it is one of my favorite dishes. I could make a meal out of it...and sometimes have.

When I feel really fat I dine on spinach and asparagus in season.

So the truth is that I eat for more vegetables than short ribs and lard.

Lately a favorite is Gravlax, which is quite simply cured salmon. It is a comfort food from Scandinavian grandmothers. Thin sliced with some capers and a bit of black bread it is quite delicious.

Step one:

1 pound filet of salmon (WILD caught)
2 cups sugar
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
Huge bunch of dill

Mix the sugar and salt together with the black pepper.

Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the bottom of a cookie sheet. Make a dill bed roughly the size of the salmon, top it with a very thick layer of the salt mixture. Lay the salmon down and top with more salt mix. Pack it around the sides. No unsalted salmon should be visible. Top with more dill and wrap up the sides of the plastic bringing over the top and firmly around the sides. Top with more plastic and put a cookie sheet on top. Put a few cans, some beans or something heavy on top of the cookie sheet and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, depending on the thickness of the salmon. Don't sneak peaks, just leave it alone.

Is it a day or two later? Okay, now you can look. Feels kinda sold and heavy hu? You've just cured your first salmon, now it's time to add a little kick. Wipe it off.

Step 2

Juice of two limes
1/2 cup good tequila (other spirits can be used, rum will emphasize sweetness)
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
Another bunch of dill finely chopped (If you like cilantro, it can be subbed for the dill at this point)

Mix it all together and put in a plastic bag. Add the salmon and squish all the air out so the salmon is surrounded and put back in the frig for 12 to 24 hours.

Take out, wipe off, slice thinly at an angle and serve, with crackers, bread, capers, chopped olives cream cheese, or yogurt. It's even good on a bagel or toast at breakfast. Wild Salmon is rich in omega 3 so this delectable treat makes your heart happy.

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