with Fennel Seeds and Gin
A sushi-quality sockeye salmon fillet is rubbed with a mixture of salt, sugar, black pepper, and toasted fennel seeds. It is tightly bundled in a puree of blackberry and gin then refrigerated for at least 24 hours. The result is something a little different than the traditional gravlax with dill.
Last month we thoroughly enjoyed a Salmon Crudo with Blackberry Ponzu. It turns out the Pacific Northwest chefs’ secret is the marriage of salmon and blackberries. Now we know too.
The blackberry-gin mixture brings an interesting herbal fruitiness while fennel adds subtle anise notes. The exterior of the salmon is tinged a neat purple color. This was a fun project and a refreshing modern alternative to old world Nordic-style gravlax.
We plated our blackberry-cured gravlax with fresh blackberries, tomato, red onion, and lemon. Everything bagels, capers, and cream cheese were served on the side. Delightful and different!
Blackberry-Cured Gravlax Recipe
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Salmon Crudo, Blackberry Ponzu
You might have noticed that we are making our fair share of raw salmon dishes here. In my search for an interesting pairing with salmon, I came across quite a few sites from the Pacific Northwest where local salmon was paired with local blackberries.
Usually referring to a wine and food pairing, the saying goes “what grows together goes together.” Roughly speaking, the idea is that local wine and local foods complement each other. Seems to work very well for this land & sea pairing as well.
Ponzu sauce (ponzu shoyu) is a Japanese condiment commonly made with citrus, soy sauce, mirin, and dashi. Here, blackberries add a tart fruitiness and a striking color purple.
The sushi-quality raw salmon slices are steeped in blackberry ponzu for just 5 to 10 minutes to infuse the flavors. Crunchy cucumber, peppery radish, spicy jalapeño, and buttery-nutty pine nuts add pizzazz to this appealing crudo dish. Togarashi, a Japanese spicy seasoning made with ground nori, sea salt, various chili powders, orange peel, and sesame seeds adds complexity and the finishing touch.
Salmon Crudo, Blackberry Ponzu Recipe
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Golden Beets and Disneyland Roses
With its apricot-orange-pink coloration and delicate spice fragrance, the Disneyland Floribunda is the official rose of the magical kingdom. See this fabulous rose planted at the main gate turnstiles and throughout the park.
After a trip home from the farmers market, I noticed how similar the color of my golden beets were to the Disneyland roses blooming in my garden. They were begging to be photographed together.
Then I roasted the golden beets and this is where they ended up:
Golden Beets, Blistered Haricots Verts, Marinated Blackberries
Vanilla Skyr, Dukkah, Olive Oil, Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Golden earthy beets, tender green beans with a hint of smoky char, and sweet-tart blackberries all pair surprisingly well with creamy vanilla skyr. The nutty, toasty Egyptian spice mix adds depth and exotic notes to this savory-sweet, veggie-fruit combination.
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Pretty Watermelon Gazpacho with Blackberries
watermelon cubes, grape tomatoes, micro cilantro, nasturtium whorls
edible flower petals, celery leaves, fruity olive oil
I purchased the obligatory feta cheese, tangy Bulgarian Feta to be exact, to garnish my watermelon gazpacho. But when it came time to plate my chilled soup, I thought watermelon + feta is way too predictable and the homogenous pale red soup needed some extra visual pizzazz. Additionally, I wanted to serve a soup that would appeal to my #glutenfreevegan friends… enter blackberries, grape tomatoes, and edible flowers.
The soup recipe is quite intriguing – a balance between sweet and savory -a summery marriage of juicy watermelon and red ripe tomatoes. Spicy green chile, cool cucumber and pungent red onion round out the flavors while my beloved vinagre de jerez is the spark that gives gazpacho its unique character. Good fruity olive oil adds a rich mouthfeel.
Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe
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Pork Pâté, Fresh Blackberries, Blackberry Jam, Fleur De Sel
Toasted Pain Rustique Brushed with Olive Oil
The idea for this jaunty little appetizer came from a sublime dish my brother ordered at Bradley Ogden in Caesar’s Palace. It was a seared foie gras with fresh strawberry, strawberry jam, spice cake, and licorice gastrique. The snappy combination of liver and fresh berries with matching jam was simultaneously chic and rustic. The first incarnation appeared on my Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvre table. Truffle Mousse Pâté with Fresh Raspberry, Raspberry Jam & Fleur de Sel was such a hit it keeps reappearing at my parties in a slightly altered form. Most recently, with pork and blackberries.
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