Tag: dill

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill, Black Pepper and Juniper

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

If you’re still looking for a scrumptious but effortless main course for New Year’s Eve and if you like salmon fillet, this is your recipe. After festive days of rich, meaty treats I prefer to start the new year with a lighter dish, seafood, lots of vegetables, or Asian inspired recipes, preferably easy dishes refined with colourful aromas, spices and herbs. Salmon baked in salt crust came to mind, but not a whole fish – I want to keep it simple – only the fillets, sandwiched with a handful of dill, crushed juniper berries and black pepper. Sealed under a mixture of coarse sea salt, flour, cornstarch, egg white and water, it bakes in the oven soaking up all these wonderful flavours. After 50 minutes it was done, which I checked by following Martha Stewart’s tip: Insert a metal skewer, if it’s warm to the touch, the fish is ready to leave its crusty shell. You have to use a sharp bread knife to cut open the salty crust, this is the only part of this recipe that demands a bit of work. You could also break it but I wanted to open it like a lid – only for visual reasons. The result is perfectly flaky, firm with a subtle hint of sea salt, it can be a bit overpowering on the edges of the fillet but you can easily scratch this excess salt off. I used fleshy fillets tied together with a cotton string, it was enough for 3-4 people – depending on the amount of dishes you’re planning to serve. Two thick center pieces of roughly the same size are perfect, you could also fill them with other herbs or thin lemon or orange slices but I wanted to use the flavours which I use for my traditional gravad lax recipe: fresh dill, spicy pepper and fragrant juniper.

During the holidays, I cleaned the shelves in my kitchen, which were in a rather chaotic state, and to my surprise, I found far more packages of Mr. Cini’s sea salt than I had expected. They didn’t last very long, I needed 1 kg / 2 1/4 pounds to cover my salmon. Mr Cini’s salt comes from the Mediterranean Sea, from Gozo, where he harvests the white grains straight from the rocks together with his family. It tastes fantastic, it’s obviously salty but not in a harsh way, it has a distinct flavour, which you can recognize in the cooked fish. I recommend using high-quality salt for this recipe, although you will discard the crust, it effects the final result tremendously.

A very exciting year has almost come to an end. I look forward to 2016 and I hope it will be more peaceful and united than the year before. My kitchen will be as busy as ever and I can’t wait to share more recipes with you, here on the blog and in my first eat in my kitchen book, which will be published in September. I wish you a wonderful start to the New Year, don’t get intimidated by too many resolutions, just enjoy your life!

Meike xx

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

 

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill, Black Pepper and Juniper

Serves 3-4 (for more people you can use bigger fillets and leave them in the oven a little longer)

high-quality coarse sea salt 1 kg / 2 1/4 pounds
plain flour 100 g / 3 /4 cup
cornstarch 30 g / 1/4 cup
organic egg whites 2
water, cold, 75 ml / 1/3 cup
salmon fillet, 2 center pieces with skin (about 680 g / 1 1/2 pounds in total)
juniper berries, coarsely crushed in a mortar, 8
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, to taste
fresh dill, 1 small bunch plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (optional, for the topping)

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting). Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

For the salt crust, combine the coarse sea salt, flour, cornstarch, egg whites, and water in a large bowl until combined, use your fingers or a spoon.

Spread a little of the salt mixture on the lined baking dish, lay 1 salmon fillet – skin side down – on top of the salt. Rub a little crushed pepper and half the juniper into the pink side of the salmon, then cover with the dill. Rub the second salmon fillet with pepper and the remaining juniper and lay it on top of the dill – skin side up. Tie the fillets together with a cotton string (see picture below), then cover the salmon with the remaining salt mixture until it’s completely covered (see 2nd picture), push the salt mixture together gently. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes or until a metal skewer, poked through the crust into the thickest part of the salmon, is warm to the touch when you pull it out of the salmon.

Let the crust cool for 1-2 minutes, then cut it open with a sharp bread knife. Cut the string open, divide the fish fillets in 3-4 portions, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with freshly chopped dill on the plates (optional).

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

 

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

 

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill and Juniper

 

saltbakedsalmon9

 

saltbakedsalmon10

Cardamom Lentil Burgers, Dill Sour Cream and Preserved Lemon Sandwich

Lentil Burger

I finally made my first preserved lemons of 2015, one of my new annual pantry traditions. Until last year, I focused on jams and chutneys in my kitchen, but then I remembered my grandmother’s passion for preserving, her huge cellar packed with shelves up to the ceiling. I can still picture the long lined jars of preserved fruits, all those cherries, plums, pears and apples kept in colourful juices, the crop always came straight from her own or her children’s garden. I used to love this room in her old house with the cherry tree in the garden, this was true kitchen magic for my young eyes.

In late summer, my family used to have so many fruits that preserving was the only way to prevent waste. Living in the city doesn’t really confront me with this problem, we eat the fruit and vegetables as soon as I buy them or not long after. So unfortunately, there are no baskets full of ripe late summer harvests waiting for me on the kitchen top, but I discovered a couple recipes that are equally satisfying, in preparation and consumption: lemons and artichokes!

This year’s preserved lemons are already as tasty as the last batch. I prepared them about 6 weeks ago and they still need a couple months to turn into perfectly tender bites, but I’m impatient and today’s recipe asked for their salty sourness. I made meatless burgers with black Beluga and red lentils. The dark lentils stayed crunchy after I cooked them and the red legumes were quite soft, the perfect burger mixture. I refined them with cardamon, parmesan and red onions, squeezed them in a bun and topped the little beauties with a refreshing dill dip and my fruity lemons – a proper spring burger!

Lentil Burger

 

Lentil Burger

Cardamom Lentil Burgers, Dill Sour Cream and Preserved Lemon Sandwich

I made 15 lentil patties, for the 2 sandwiches you will only need 4.

For 2 sandwiches you need

rustic white buns, cut in half, 2
rucola, a small handful
preserved lemon, very thinly sliced, 1/4
(alternatively, you could use the roasted lemon peel from this recipe)

For the patties

black Beluga lentils 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
red lentils 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
small bay leaves 2
medium sized red onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
organic eggs 2
parmesan, grated, 100g / 3 1/2 ounces
breadcrumbs 70g / 2 1/2 ounces
cardamom 1 teaspoon
salt 1 1/4 teaspoons
pepper
olive oil, for frying

For the dill sour cream

sour cream 200g / 7 ounces
fresh dill, chopped, 4 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
olive oil 2 teaspoons
heavy cream 1 tablespoon
a pinch of cardamom
a pinch of sugar
salt and pepper

Cook the red and black lentils separately, according to the instructions on the package, each with 1 bay leaf but without salt. My Beluga needed 20 minutes in 325ml / 11 ounces of water (they should be al dente), the red lentils took 10 minutes in 325ml / 11 ounces of water to be done (they should be soft and mushy). Drain both well once they are cooked and let them cool for about 10 minutes (I cooked mine a few hours before I made the patties).

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (fan-assisted oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, gently mix the lentils and the ingredients for the patties with a wooden spoon until well combined. Wet your hands and form 70g / 2 1/2 ounces patties. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a heavy pan and fry the lentil patties for 2-3 minutes on medium on both sides until golden brown. You will have to fry them in batches. Transfer the patties onto the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 9 minutes.

Whip the ingredients for the dill sour cream until creamy and season to taste.

Spread a little rucola on each bottom side of the buns, lay 2 patties on top and drizzle some dill sour cream over the lentil burgers. Sprinkle with slices of preserved lemon and fresh dill. Enjoy!

Lentil Burger

 

Lentil Burger

 

Lentil Burger

Blini with Roe Cream and Dill

Blini with Roe Cream + Dill

I’m surrounded by caviar lovers, especially my mother who still talks about the tiny blue can I gave her as a present when I was still a child. I knew how much she loved it and I felt so proud and grown up when I bought it for her! The prices for this delicacy were much lower than they are now, unfortunately, those days are over. No black eggs as presents anymore!

Personally, I’m not crazy about it, I like and appreciate its fresh sea taste but the (much cheaper) red trout caviar is also fine for me. However I’ve been wanting to cook with it for quite a while and the time has come. I decided to go for the classic combination of buckweat blinis, roe cream and dill. It’s perfect for a summer brunch or as a starter for a dinner party, a small sumptuous treat!

The dip is also great on dark rye bread!

Blini with Roe Cream + Dill

Blini with Roe Cream and Dill

For 24 blinis you need

plain flour 100g / 3.5 ounces
buckwheat flour 50g / 1 3/4 ounces
dry yeast 2 leveled teaspoons
salt 1 teaspoon
a pinch of sugar
organic eggs 2
sour cream 100g / 3.5 ounces
milk, lukewarm, 200ml / 7 ounces
butter, melted, cooled off, 1 tablespoon
vegetable oil for frying

Combine the flour, buckwheat, salt, sugar and yeast. Add the milk, egg yolks, sour cream and butter and mix until well combined. Let the dough rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm ( top / bottom heat, no fan!) oven for 45 minutes.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt till stiff and fold into the dough before you cook it.

Heat a non-stick pan on a high-medium temperature and coat with a thin layer of oil. Pour in 2 tablespoons of batter for each blini and cook for around 1 minute on each side or until golden brown.

 

For the roe cream

trout caviar 100g / 3.5 ounces
cream cheese 200g / 7 ounces
sour cream 6 tablespoons
lemon zest 1 teaspoon
freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 teaspoons
salt and pepper
fresh dill, chopped, a small bunch, for topping

Whisk the cream cheese, sour cream, lemon zest and juice and season with salt (carefully, the roe will add some saltiness) and pepper to taste. Gently fold in the roe, leave a few to garnish the blinis.

Dollop a spoonful of the dip on each blini and top with some roe and dill.

Blini with Roe Cream + Dill

 

Blini with Roe Cream + Dill

 

Blini with Roe Cream + Dill

 

Blini with Roe Cream + Dill

Cucumber Salad with Dill and Sour Cream Dressing

Cucumber Salad with Dill + Sour Cream

Lots of amazing food was gathered on my own and on my friend’s and family’s tables in the past couple days, we enjoyed some special culinary treats, had a great time, and of course ate lots of sweets, cakes and chocolate. No complaints but it’s time for a break! I love to feast for days, especially together with the ones I love. Treating others and myself to good homemade food, spending time together at a long table, trying out and sharing new recipes, I need and appreciate this so much. It’s like taking a break from the daily routine when time is tight and work is always waiting. These feasts caress my soul, I  treasure these moments highly and most of the time they become my most beloved memories!

But each feast has its end, otherwise it wouldn’t be so special. Therefore I gladly enjoy a light salad, simple and quick. It combines a lot I love about spring, juicy and tasty cucumber which is such a pleasure after months of watery winter cucumbers, fresh dill, strong and aromatic, and a smooth dressing with sour cream and lemon. For the two of us, I sliced 1 small cucumber very thinly and dolloped my milky dressing over it. I whisked 2 heaped tablespoons of sour cream with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and added 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. This is just a rough guideline, adjust the ingredients to your own taste, or add some more herbs like chives or parsley or some other vegetables like cherry tomatoes or lettuce. I was happy with my puristic combination, just cucumber, the dressing nicely balanced between sweet, sour and milky, and some freshly chopped dill sprinkled on top.

Cucumber Salad with Dill + Sour Cream

 

Cucumber Salad with Dill + Sour Cream

Smoked Wild Salmon, Dill and Cottage Cheese on a Sandwich

Smoked Wild Salmon Sandwich

It’s been a busy week, I need a quick sandwich! That’s what’s great about sandwiches, they adapt to your life, they go with the circumstances and your mood. Extravagant ingredients and extensive preparation may lead to an amazing result but it’s not necessary. I used to make a very simple sandwich together with my father. We would cut thin slices of a dark loaf of bread (rye or spelt), put a few slices of cheese on, Dutch Gouda or Swiss Emmentaler, and some thin slices of juicy cucumber. We sprinkled it with salt and crushed black pepper and it was done. I loved it so much! This was a culinary highlight to me, and sometimes, when I’m in the right mood, it still is.

Today’s sandwich is simple but luxurious. It needs thick slices of white bread, I bought a light English bread, baguette or ciabatta work as well. I pair this with a wonderful delicacy from the sea, smoked wild salmon! I don’t really like farmed seafood even though I do buy it sometimes, but when I can choose I prefer wild fish, especially when it comes to smoked salmon. It’s less fatty and much stronger in taste. Today I want to keep it simple, I just spread some cottage cheese on a slice of bread and put the salmon on top, sprinkled with dill. You could add some freshly grated horseradish for some spiciness, I enjoyed mine without to taste all the fine flavours of the fish.

Besides the bread, I needed 150g / 5.5 ounces of smoked salmon, around 4 heaped tablespoons of cottage cheese and a few sprigs of fresh dill for 2 sandwiches.

Smoked Wild Salmon Sandwich

More Sandwich Wednesdays

Lentil Mousse and Roast Garlic Sandwich

Baked Beetroot and Goat Cheese Fougasse Sandwich

Bacon and Balsamico Cream Sandwich

Mediterranean Sausage Sandwich

Camembert and Pomegranate Sandwich

Hummus Egg and Grilled Aubergine Sandwich

You can find all of my sandwiches here.

Gravad Lax with Dill and Spices

Gravad Lax

Yesterday Saveur Magazine added eat in my kitchen to their “Sites We Love” and I’m so happy and excited to be a part of this special list! It’s only been two months since I started sharing my personal kitchen moments here on my blog and I have been overwhelmed by the response and support, thank you!

Here is the link to the interview I did for Saveur Magazine:
http://www.saveur.com/article/sites-we-love/sites-we-love-eat-in-my-kitchen

So, back to food, a special day deserves a special meal! Coincidentally, today I’m writing about a very special, luxurious if not festive recipe, Gravad Lax!

Gravad Lax is very literally slow food as the cured salmon needs a few days in the fridge, pressed down with weights, looked after and turned once a day. It can take between 2 – 4 days to reach the right consistency, so you must be patient, but you can be sure you will be rewarded.

I cure mine with a marinade of dill, juniper and black pepper and the obligatory salt/sugar mixture. This, to me, is the best way to savor salmon by far. It’s an old family recipe made by many of my relatives, it’s always one of the starters when my family comes together at table. I have tried different recipes, with more spices and orange zest for example, but I always come back to this one. The dill, black pepper and the juniper just bring out the best in the salmon.

After a few days, when the salmon is done, I cut very thin slices off the fillet. I serve mine pure, with no dressing, just some white bread. That’s it, it doesn’t need anything else. Apart from a glass of white wine maybe, or Champagne even. It’s a luxurious meal so you might as well go all the way!

Gravad Lax

Gravad Lax

salmon, end or centre-cut, bones removed, skin on, cut into 2 pieces that fit on top of each other, around 700g / 24.5 ounces
sugar 100g / 3.5 ounces
coarse sea salt 80g / 3 ounces
black pepper, crushed roughly, 1 tablespoon
(measured before crushing)
juniper, crushed, 6 berries
fresh dill, chopped roughly, 2 small bunches

Combine the sugar, salt and spices.

Spread 1/4 of the dill on a flat dish big enough for the salmon. Place one half of the salmon on top (flesh-side up), rub the spice mixture gently into the flesh and cover with half of the dill. Place the other half of the fish on top (flesh-side down), press it down and cover with the rest of the dill. Cover with cling film, put a wooden board on top and place 2-3 (filled) tins on top, or anything else that is heavy enough to put some weight on the salmon. Place in the fridge and turn once a day. You might have to drain some liquid once in a while. Check after 2 days to see if the texture is already more firm. The salmon will start to look a big glassy. If so, slice it thinly (you must hold a large, sharp knife at a flat angle) – if not, be patient and check again tomorrow!

Gravad Lax