Jun 092014
 

Salmon gravlax

Of all the culinary vices I have to look out for, I think the most insidious for me is the rut. I am so very much a creature of habit that it is easy all too easy for me to slip into the comfortable and familiar. Lamenting the salmon-related Tasty Rut is no new thing here at Om-nom Sauce (exhibit A, exhibit B), so here I give you one of my more off-the-beaten-path methods of preparing the eminently tasty fish, which makes for a striking presentation and delicious flavor.

The method of salt-curing the fish transforms an already gorgeous hue into an intense jewel for the eyes. It’s like you were viewing the fish on a monitor and then hiked the saturation slider all the way to the right. It looks absolutely nothing like, well, the salmon-colored crayon from your scribbling days (as heat-cooked salmon does). The flavor is concentrated and infused with all the goodness you cured it with — and for bonus points, experiment with different citrus zests to experience a completely different flavor profile.

We made this last year as the sockeye season was waning, the fish having largely finished their runs, so I deemed it too late to post this recipe for anyone to get any benefit of it. This year, however, things are in full swing, but I probably won’t get to partake since something tells me this is verboten in pregnancy. So I hope you get a chance to indulge in this and break out of your own salmon rut!

Salmon gravlax

Click for the recipe →

Apr 072013
 
Duck legs, pre-curing

Duck legs, pre-curing

Yes, it’s true: I am all about the Quack Attack. For my money, there are few animals tastier than the duck. There is something decadently succulent about the dark, flavorful meat that is found throughout this bird, and oh, the fat… the fat can just take everything about your cooking to the next level.

So it’s not surprising that some enterprising cook came up with the idea of cooking a duck in its own fat. I mean, as a society we have acknowledged that combining two products from the same animal can elevate them both to new heights (see: cheeseburger), so to the people who scoff at the idea of confit, well, I just scoff back. Or something. Or I would if I weren’t so totally absorbed in the wonder of the method. (Sorry, I’m too busy appreciating all that is awesome and wonderful in this world to be appropriately snarky back at you. That’s it: that’s my new motto. But I digress.)

Cured duck legs

Cured duck legs

Confit is a French word, which seems to imply that confit is difficult, snooty, impossible to eat without my nose held at a dizzying angle in the air, and altogether too refined for a knuckle-dragger like me to fully appreciate. Or perhaps it’s too baffling and you find yourself asking what one does with it. Fortunately for all of us, confit is exceedingly simple: make a curing paste in a food processor from a couple of pantry staples, throw it in the fridge overnight, rinse it, submerge in fat, and cook for a couple of hours.

Duck leg confit

Duck leg confit

As for what to do with the finished product? It’s a doozy of an answer: anything and everything. So far, I’ve used it in cassoulet (yet another scary-sounding French dish that is actually peasant food), risotto, and just plain eating. But one of the best parts is that it keeps in the fridge for a month (confit literally means “preserved”), so though I confit-ed up a whole duck and only needed the breasts in my risotto, the legs will wait around for me to be inspired once again. What shall I use it for? An exceedingly amazing pot-pie? A savory and decadent (cheese-less) pizza? Tossed with roasted Brussels sprouts? (Woah.) Who knows? A whole lotta inspiration can happen in a month. All I know is that those two beautifully golden legs will be challenging me to up my creativity-ante, and there’s no doubt that they’ll do that if I can resist the temptation to pull them out in the middle of the night and schmear them all over my face as I savor them by the fridge.

Duck leg confit: tender, flavorful, NOM!

Duck leg confit: tender, flavorful, NOM!

Click for the recipe →

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