Chef Jessica Makes her Happy Hudson Valley Debut

We are so excited to introduce you to our worldly chef-in-resident Jessica - a Jersey girl with an affinity for exotic dishes. She is talented and adventurous and recently discovered her love for French cuisine during an externship working at Chef Daniel Boulud’s namesake, Daniel. Jessica is currently enrolled at the Culinary Institute, and we can't wait to see what she's going to be cooking up for HHV readers!

The new restaurant on the Culinary Institute of America’s campus, Bocuse, is finally up and running.  The menu includes items that utilize liquid nitrogen, pressure cookers, immersions circulators, blast chillers, and other equipment that would make any chef, or aspiring chef, feel like a kid in a candy shop.  One of the appetizers on the menu is a salmon tartar, served on a crostini, with frozen mustard spheres and dill crème fraiche.  To say the dish is perfection would be an understatement.  The salmon is house cured, the flavors are balanced perfectly and the presentation is stunning.  

As a huge salmon lover, I knew I needed to come up with a simplified, yet scrumptious at-home version of this dish.  Although curing salmon is not a difficult task, curing a whole side of salmon in a college fridge would be a feat in itself.  For those who wish to cure their own salmon (or gravlax) all you need is salt, sugar, dill, fresh salmon and room in your refrigerator.  You simply rub about  1.5 oz, or one bunch of chopped dill on the flesh side of the salmon, then ½ lb of salt, and topped with 2.5 oz sugar. Wrap in damp cheese cloth or with plastic wrap.  Set in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, then rinse off the cure, and return to the refrigerator for one day, loosely wrapped before using.

    My  D.I.Y. Salmon Tartar recipe serves 10-12

     You'll need:

  • 8 oz smoked salmon (See above)
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2  tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp chopped capers
  • 1 tsp chopped cornichons
  • 1 tsp chopped shallots
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chopped dill
  • Pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup Heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp prepared white horseradish
  • Salt
  • Your favorite cracker (Clubhouse, plain bagel chips, Ritz etc.)

Directions:

1. Cut salmon into ½ in by ½ in squares, and combine in a bowl with the mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, cornichons, shallots, olive oil and dill. Mix well, but be gentle with the salmon.  Adjust with pepper to taste.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream and horseradish until peaks are formed. Adjust with salt before whisking, as to not over whisk the cream.

3. To assemble spread cream on a cracker and top with salmon mixture. Enjoy!

For those who do not have the time, patience or fridge space, simply buy your favorite smoked salmon or gravlax at the store. The difference between smoked salmon and gravlax, is that smoked salmon is cured and then cold smoked while gravlax is cured with dill and not smoked at all. To make the salmon tartar, simply start by cutting the salmon into squares about ½ in by ½ in. Then add the mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, cornichons, shallots, olive oil, dill and pepper. There is no need to add salt, due to the saltiness of the salmon, capers and cornichons. For the horseradish cream, combine the cream and horseradish and whisk until it forms peaks. Add salt to taste. The best part about this recipe is that is it so simple, you can adjust the amounts of the ingredients to your taste for both the salmon and the cream. When it comes to serving this dish you have a few options. You can either put the cream and salmon in decorative bowls, serve with crackers and allow guests to assemble themselves, or you can have them preassembled on a platter. Either way this dish has a wonderful presentation, great flavor, and does not take long to make but will impress any guest!