Monday, October 13, 2014

10 October 12, 2014 - Brunch with Duffys and Barreras - Cured Salmon, Caramel Bread Pudding, Herbed Salad

The Du-DeuxBarr Brunch - Italian Anniversary Brunch

Caramel Bread Pudding: 
  • followed the recipe below, but two tips
    • be sure to allow caramel to cool completely (30 min in the fridge) before adding the bread/custard.
    • weight the bread so that it helps soak up the custard well

Herbed Salad: 

  • would have followed recipe below... but forgot some key ingredients :(
  • Trader Joe's sometimes carries some shelled Fava Beans- they still need to be peeled, but its easy to do after a quick blanching
  • I have made this with other cheese when I can't find Ricotta Salata, I think that fresh cheeses and hard cheeses are probably easiest to use, but probably anything.
  • I've also made this with regular prosciutto instead of speck, still good :)

Gravlax, adapted from combining two salmon recipes below


  • 2 lb salmon fillet, trimmed
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 juniper berries, chopped fine
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice berries, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, ground
  • citrus zest from 2 lemons, 2 limes, 2 oranges, 2 grapefruits

Method I followed the recipe method for the citrus cured salmon by Ruhlman, some extra notes:
I used Coho salmon from costco, probably about 1.75 pounds.  The Ruhlman recipe suggests trimming the thinner parts of the salmon fillet, which I did not do the first time, and I am glad I did trim the fillet this time, it made it easier to slice.
For the allspice, pepper, and juniper- I took the ground spices and then ground it into some salt before adding it to the larger bowl of salt/sugar.  It allowed the spices/flavors to mix in more thoroughly.
I have not quite figured out how to wrap the salmon tightly without it leaking, so keeping it in a dish is a good idea, and I have been weighting it.
Serve with bagels or rolls with creme fraiche! (forgot this too, mixed about 1/2 yogurt+cream cheese)

Cucumber Salad, modified from Chez Panisse recipe below


  • 1 english cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped coarsely
  • A few sprigs of dill
  • 1 shallot (medium), chopped fine
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced finely
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mince shallot and macerate in lemon juice.  Toss in the dill and celery and mix with some pepper.  Add cucumber shortly before serving so that it doesn't get soft and turned into a pickle.  Salt at the last minute.

Inspiration recipes
Citrus Cured Salmon

Ruhlman's Twenty, by Michael Ruhlman


1 cup coarse salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1 (2-to-3-pound) skin-on salmon fillet, pin bones removed and very thin pieces of flesh trimmed

Salmon can be wrapped in parchment paper and kept refrigerated until ready to use, up to 2 weeks.

In a small bowl, stir salt and sugar to combine. In another small bowl, combine orange, lemon and lime zest; set aside.

Place a sheet of parchment paper-lined aluminum foil, large enough to extend beyond the length of the salmon, on work surface. Spread one-third the salt mixture in center of parchment-lined foil; place salmon skin-side down on salt bed. Sprinkle zest mixture evenly over salmon and top with remaining salt mixture; salmon should be completely covered.

Fold foil up to contain salt; place a second sheet of parchment paper-lined aluminum foil over salmon and firmly crimp sheets together to form a tight package in which salt mixture is in contact with all surfaces of salmon. Transfer salmon packet to a baking sheet. Set a pan or large dish on top of salmon; top with cans or bricks to weight down. Transfer to refrigerator; refrigerate for 24 hours.

Unwrap salmon and remove it from salt mixture. Rinse salmon and pat dry using paper towels. Set salmon on a rack or paper towel-lined tray and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours more

Gravlax and Cucumber Salad (retyped from the book)

Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, by Alice Waters 

Served ice-cold, this cured salmon hors d'oeuvre is a refreshing start to a late-summer meal.  Look for just-picked, small0seeded cucumbers at the farmers' market-- a good fresh firm cucumber can be a surprising revelation.

Serves 4 to 6.

1 pound king salmon fillet, skin on 
2 juniper berries, sliced coarsely
1/3 cup salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon allspice, crushed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
A few sprigs dill, stems removed
A few sprigs tarragon, stems removed

1 large or 2 small cucumbers
fresh mint, dill, chervil, or tarragon

The fillet may contain little pin bones, which run from the head end about halfway back along a whole side of salmon.  These bones will interfere with slicing later, so they should be removed.  They can be easily located with your fingertips and pulled out with small needle-nosed pliers or tweezers.  Place the fillet in a glass or stainless steel dish, skin side down.  Sprinkle the sliced juniper berries over the fish, pressing lightly into the flesh.  If you especially like juniper, use more, or a few drops of gin instead. 

In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar, allspice, and pepper.  Spread this mixture evenly over both sides of the salmon.  Scatter the dill and tarragon leaves evenly over both sides as well.  Wrap the salmon tightly in cheesecloth, cover, and refrigerate for 36 hours.  

The serve, scrape off the herbs and any undissolved salt mixture.  Slice at an angle into wafer-thin slices with a sharp, thin-bladed knife.

To make the simple cucumber salad, slice the cucumber as thinly as possible (we use a Japanese mandolin) and dress to taste with olive oil, lemon, and salt.  Chop the herb of your choice-- or a combination-- and toss with the cucumber.

Arrange the gravlax slices on individual plates, and spoon the cucumber salad over the fish.

Variations: Make tea sandwiches on buttered brown bread topped with sliced gravlax and cucumber salad.  Or serve gravlax with pickled beets and a bit of creme fraiche flavored with mustard and horseradish.

Note: The gravlax will keep for a week in the refrigerator, tightly covered.  Double the recipe for a larger piece of salmon.

Morning Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel
SMITTEN KITCHEN (blog), by Deb Perlman

This recipe is from none other than Food52 co-founder Amanda Hesser, back in her earlier New York Times days. (I clipped almost everything she cooked back then. #fangirl) It hails from the same article about holiday breakfasts as the winter fruit salad I shared here years ago. Yes, I basically skipped past this caramel/marscarpone/butter/challah glory for a fruit salad. I can be such a bore sometimes. I suspect I was fearful of it because I thought it would be unbearably sweet and unbreakfast-like, but for me, the beauty of it — well, aside from the actual messy beauty of it — is that it’s not. I ended up removing the 2 tablespoons sugar in the bread part to increase the contrast provided between the faintly tangy bread and the well-rounded sweetness of the dark caramel lid. My other changes were some added quantity and baking vessel notes and a couple tiny ingredient tweaks (salting the caramel for modern times, streamlining the fancy dairy products), plus some notes of warning about the caramel. Finally, Hesser calls for 1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds to be sprinkled on the bread 15 minutes into the baking time but I never bother.
If you can’t get mascarpone, creme fraiche would be ideal here. It doesn’t just enrich the batter and add a faint tang, it serves as the dreamiest dollop on served wedges. Sour cream would theoretically work too, but won’t be as rich and smooth one heated. I used whole milk, but suspect low-fat would work just fine here.
This is an overnight dish, ideally. Set it up before you go to bed and all you have to do when you wake up is bake it and invert it onto a serving dish. The longer is soaks, the more the bread and custard become one, but nevertheless, I think as long as it has an hour to soak, it will be good enough.
Serves 6 generous or 8 to 10 if other items are on the table. Estimate 1 hour prep time and then about 30 or so minutes baking time in the morning.

3/4 cup plus (optional) 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or just 2 or 3 pinches of a coarse one
10 to 12-ounce loaf brioche or challah bread (cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick and about 3 inches square or round, which sounds really persnickety, but they really do fit better in the pan this way)
8 large eggs
1 cup mascarpone cheese, divided (1/4 cup for custard; 3/4 cup for serving)
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

First, choose your baking vessel. I opted for a 2-quart oval gratin/roasting dish, but also tested this in a 9-inch round cake pan (it was a squeeze; 10-inch would have been better). Other things I suspect would work: 9- to 10-inch cast iron skillet, 2-quart casserole dish or 1 deep-dish pie pan (what Hesser suggests).
If your vessel is safe for the stovetop, use this to make the caramel. If not, use a small, heavy saucepan. In either, place 3/4 cup sugar, butter and sea salt and heat over medium heat. The butter will melt and, after 7 to 10 minutes, the sugar will dissolve and begin to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir with a spoon or spatula so that it browns evenly. You will find that the butter separates from the melting sugar and this is just fine. Do your best to keep them stirred together but know that it will all work out in the end even if it’s split.
If you’re using a saucepan, your caramel is done when it reaches a copper color. Pour it over the base of your baking vessel and try (I failed each time) to tip it 1-inch up the sides of the dish.
If you’re making the caramel in your final baking vessel, your caramel should be taken off the stove a step sooner, a shade more pale than copper, something of a medium brown; this is because it will continue cooking and darkening for a minute off the stove.

Regardless of baking vessel, place dish in refrigerator and chill until caramel is cold and solid, about 30 minutes. Once chilled, arrange the bread slices. Place the heel of the bread in the center and do what you can to fan the slices around it, overlapping each slightly and knowing with complete confidence that even if your dish doesn’t resemble a blooming rose, nobody will care at all.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar (if using; I skipped this) and 1/4 mascarpone cheese (save rest for serving), until very smooth. Add milk and almond extract. Pour this over the bread, making sure to saturate all of it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight. If you bread seems too high in the vessel to get a good soak, you can weight it with a plate in the fridge.

In the morning, [updated to suggest] take your dish from the fridge an hour before you want to bake it. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove plastic from dish and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until moist but not wet in center. Remove from oven and run a knife around edge of dish, loosening bread from sides. Place a serving plate over top of dish (bottom side up), and, using potholders, hold pudding over sink and flip pudding onto it. Lift baking dish off plate; scrape any extra caramel from pie dish over pudding. Serve, cutting it into wedges at the table and spooning a healthy dollop of mascarpone onto each plate.

Green Pea and Fava Bean Salad with Sliced Speck, Food and Wine Magazine

Green Pea and Fava Bean Salad with Sliced Speck

  • SERVINGS: 10
This lovely salad offers a wonderful mix of ingredients: fava beans, peas, chives, dill, parsley, basil and sage. Sliced speck, the prosciutto-like ham, makes the salad a little smoky.
Slideshow: Bean Salad Recipes
  1. 3 cups shelled fresh English peas (about 3/4 pound)
  2. 4 pounds fava beans, shelled (4 cups)
  3. 1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  4. 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  5. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  6. Kosher salt
  7. Pepper
  8. 1/3 cup snipped dill sprigs
  9. 1/3 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  10. 1/3 cup snipped chives
  11. 1/3 cup small basil leaves or torn basil
  12. 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
  13. 20 thin slices speck (1/2 pound)
  14. 4 ounces ricotta salata, crumbled (1 cup)
Get Delicious, Healthy Salad Recipes.
  1. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the peas until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peas to an ice bath to cool. Drain well, pat dry and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the fava beans to the boiling water and cook just until the skins start to loosen, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the favas to the ice bath to cool. Squeeze the favas from their skins and add them to the peas. Add the shallot, sherry vinegar and the 1/4 cup of oil, season with salt and pepper and toss well. In a small bowl, toss the dill with the parsley, chives, basil and sage.
  3. Spoon the pea and fava bean salad onto a large platter. Arrange the speck slices on the salad and sprinkle the ricotta salata and herbs on top. Lightly drizzle olive oil over the salad, season with salt and pepper and serve right away.
MAKE AHEAD The blanched peas and favas can be chilled 1 day ahead. Let the vegetables return to room temperature before serving.

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