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!
Joyeux Anniversaire Julia Child! Today would have been Julia’s 108th birthday. It has been a tradition to celebrate her birthday on Taste With The Eyes for the past several years.
This year, let’s raise a toast to Julia with one of her favorite cocktails, the Upside-Down Martini also known as a reverse or “wet” martini, made with five parts vermouth to one part gin. We are going to craft Julia’s special drink with exclusively French alcools.
Noilly Prat was a favorite of Julia’s, a fine vermouth, beautifully crafted by the sea in the South of France. It is made with 14 global herbs and spices such as chamomile and coriander from Morocco, bitter orange from Tunisia, and orris root from Italy.
Diplôme Dry Gin has been produced in France since 1945 from a selection of the finest natural botanicals including genever berries, whole lemons, angelica, saffron, and fennel seed. The original recipe was perfected during WWII in the City of Dijon. At the end of the war, the original recipe became the official gin for the American Army stationed in Europe.
With naturally less alcohol than a traditional martini, Julia would say, “The best thing about a reverse martini is that you can have two of them!” (Full upside-down martini recipe below).
A Historic Re-Creation
Please join me as I re-create Julia Child’s very first meal in France, one that she experienced with her husband Paul Child. The story takes place in Rouen, France in November of 1948.
I originally wrote this post back in 2007. I resurrect it in August, sometimes with a new recipe, to celebrate Julia Child’s birthday. This year I am including a drink that she especially liked, the Upside-Down Martini.
The text is as she describes her meal to us inMy Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006.
The re-creation photographs are ones that I have taken on my travels; some are from France, others from California, a couple are shot in my own home. I use the sepia tone to give the images the feel of a single place over 70 years ago.
Come, let’s travel back in time and enjoy French food and revel in its perfection via Julia…