Salmon Carpaccio

The story behind this recipe can be found in Hankerings’ latest post, Bonita Springs, Florida. I hope you enjoy!

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 lb. filet of fresh, fatty salmon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 / 4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon capers, plus 1 teaspoon caper juice
  • 4 oz. parm reg
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, if desired
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. With a thin, flexible knife, shave thin slices of the salmon and place them on a platter. Continue to shave until most of the meat has been removed from the filet, cutting off dark red pieces of the salmon for better presentation and taste.
  2. Cut the lemon in half. Combine the juice from half the lemon with the sour cream, capers, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Cut the remaining half of lemon into slices. Arrange them on top of the salmon. Pour half the sauce over the top of the salmon, saving some for additional use later, if desired.
  4. Shave the parm reg over the salmon, and sprinkle with minced parsley, if desired. Garnish with cracked pepper as well, if desired.
  5. Serve room temperature.

Ahi Tuna with Asian Barbecue Dipping Sauce

Ina Garten’s recipe for Barbecue Sauce includes Asian and Mexican flavors like soy sauce and chili powder – giving the sauce a more rounded edge. I love the idea of hybrid cuisines – and the Mexican Asian fusion restaurants I see continuing to pop up here in D.C. mean it must be a crowd-pleasing combo. Chorizo potstickers, anyone?

The way her story goes, she made three sauces – a traditional barbecue sauce, an Asian barbecue sauce and a Mexican barbecue sauce. Instead of selecting one, she figured, why not just mix them together?

Here, I honed in on perfecting the Asian barbecue sauce – that brings out Asian flavors and condiments, while still having that traditional barbecue sauce color, consistency and caramelized brown sugar goodness.

Mixed with Kewpie mayo, you’re in for a hell of a lot of spicy, sweet, salty and fishy undertones in a silky dipping sauce. It’s the perfect palate pleaser to go along with a ruby rare Ahi tuna steak, sliced thick.

I’m in the midst of taking a food safety manager class in order to be able to cook in commercial kitchens. I knew it would open my eyes to the sheer number of food-borne illnesses that, if you were a play-it-safe kind of person, might lead you to eat boiled rice for the rest of your life.

But when it comes to something as good as rare Ahi tuna, I’m always willing to take that risk. No amount of facts and statistics are going to sway me to order a well-done cheeseburger. Or avoid those $1 oyster specials.

I think all of us unpasteurized cheese-eating, raw seafood tower indulgers show a true love for food every time we place that order or buy that ingredient. That’s living if I’ve ever seen it.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 as an appetizer.

  • 1 lb. Ahi tuna steak

F o r  t h e  M a r i n a d e

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 / 4 teaspoon powdered wasabi
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

F o r  t h e  A s i a n  B a r b e c u e  D i p p i n g  S a u c e

Makes 2 cups.

  • 1 / 2 can tomato paste
  • 1 / 3 cup ketchup
  • 1 / 4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 / 4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 / 2 small medium white onion, small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hot sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Scallions, sliced, for garnish
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Kewpie mayo, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a snug, shallow dish. Marinate the Ahi tuna steak for as long as possible, preferably 1 hour.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper, and saute until the onions are completely translucent, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for additional 1 minute. Proceed to add the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the Kewpie mayo. Stir until all ingredients are fully combined. Simmer on low to medium heat for 20 minutes, until the sauce is reduced slightly.
  3. Allow to cool. Combine equal parts Kewpie mayo and barbecue sauce until you reach your desired amount of dipping sauce, mixing until the sauce is uniform throughout. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, if desired. Chill the sauce in the fridge while you prepare the tuna.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet with a coating of olive oil. Remove the tuna from the marinade, and place in the hot pan. For a rare finish, cook the tuna for 90 seconds on each side.
  5. Remove the steak immediately from the pan, and slice thick against the grain. Serve alongside the dipping sauce. Eat immediately.

 

Deconstructed Salmon Ceviche with Mango & Avocado-Lime Crema

Salmon not only tastes great, but I hear it’s good for you too. Not that I care about the good for you part.

Raw fish – raw food in general – must feel so satisfying because you’re eating visceral protein in its most primal form.

In spite of my debilitating motion sickness while I’m on any small sea vessel, I’d spend a summer fishing every day in a heartbeat given the opportunity.

As a self-identified part-time resident of southwest Florida, our family has taken some deep sea fishing trips in the Gulf of Mexico.

A few years back on a rickety, 20-foot fishing boat, we reeled in what Captain Vince estimated to be a two to three hundred pound “goliath grouper.” It took 45 minutes to bring it up, and four of us had to take turns reeling it in using your average, run-of-the-mill fishing rod.

I still don’t understand how that pole didn’t snap in half.

When it emerged, it was like pulling a prehistoric whale out of the water. It was covered in barnacles and its eyes were the size of golf balls. It was staring right at us. I knew it was a fish, but it had the gaze of a human who’d been through hell and back.

When you catch a fish that size, and I assume that uncommon, you always cut the line and let them go.  It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.

I love raw salmon, and smoked salmon, so I included both in this “ceviche.” I wanted to make this more of a meal as opposed to a bite-sized amuse-bouche, which is typically the serving size I get when ordering at restaurants here in D.C. I’m always left wanting more of it.

Avocados are the perfect counterpoint to salmon, according to everyone. And I agree. I was in Oahu when this recipe sprung into my head, thus the added mango component. Pineapple would’ve been more Hawaiian-y, I know.

Adding sweet to my savory is usually against my religion, but mango just felt right here.

And if you have a round mold, which I didn’t have, these ingredients would present gorgeously stacked over one another.

Now go forth, and eat your seafood the way it’s meant to be eaten – raw!

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 1.

  • 6 oz. smoked salmon
  • 6 oz. wild salmon filet, sliced thin
  • 1 mango, sliced thin
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced thin
  • 2 avocados (ripe, but firm – you will only need 1 and 1 / 2 avocado for this recipe, so snack on the other half!)
  • 2 limes, 1 zested & juiced
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 stalk scallions, minced
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

O p t i o n a l

To go along with the fish, make a super-simple dipping sauce for added flavor – simply mix 3 parts soy sauce to 1 part sesame oil, adding a teaspoon or so of finely minced scallions.

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Cut 1 avocado in half, carefully removing the core with a knife. Remove the outer peel, and slice the meat 1 / 4 to 1 / 2 inch thin. Drizzle the slices with lime juice to prevent browning & set aside.
  2. With a knife, cut the smoked salmon into 2 – 3 inch diameter circles. You could use a ramekin as well for a more uniform size.
  3. Slice the wild salmon filet thinly longways. If you put the salmon in the freezer for 10 minutes, it will make it easier to slice. Once sliced, cut the fresh salmon in a similar circular shape & size to the smoked salmon.
  4. Peel a mango, slicing the meat of the fruit from the tough core. With the pieces you have, cut them in a similar shape to the fish.
  5. Slice one jalapeno thinly, and mince the scallion.
  6. In the meantime, put the sour cream, juice and zest of one lime, half of the avocado, salt and pepper in a blender until finely pureed.
  7. To serve, spread a dollop of the avocado crema across the plate, arrange the avocados and then the smoked and fresh salmon. Top with sliced jalapenos and sprinkle with minced scallions.
  8. Serve alongside the optional soy dipping sauce & lime wedges for extra oomph.

Tuna Nicoise Deviled Eggs

Isn’t it weird they’re called “deviled” eggs? I think this characterization of them as being somehow affiliated with the devil himself, is wholly appropriate. I think of Momofuku’s Crack Pie.

Some foods are just so good that they’ll ruin your life. Just kidding.

And being curious, I looked it up. In the 18th century the term “deviled” originally referred to any food that was flavored in some form, usually made to be spicy or heavily seasoned.

But I discovered and was surprised to learn that deviled eggs have their roots in Ancient Roman cuisine – and would be served as an appetizer for nobles. They’d combine it with some liquid – wine, broth, and some spice – usually pepper.

They have evolved a lot since then. And other cultures have adopted different variations.

Lucky Peach, which was an amazing publication that I miss so damn much, posted a recipe several years back that I can’t locate online. But it was a traditional take on a home-style version of Asian stuffed eggs (I cannot remember which country it was indigenous to), and it was a presentation I was entirely unfamiliar with. The stuffed eggs were served whites side up, garnished on top with a thin slice of carrot, with rolls of sliced mozzarella cheese served in the middle of the plate.

For some reason its simplicity appealed to me. I think that’s why deviled eggs have stuck around for so long.

Regular American deviled eggs nowadays, the sad, couple-day old ones you find sitting in the prepared food section of your grocery store, will typically combine the yolks, go heavy on the mayonnaise, of course – because, why not – toss in some yellow mustard and sprinkle a bit of paprika.

Do not get me wrong, I love the classic good-old-American deviled egg.

But for those looking to expand their deviled egg horizons, here’s a fun, more elevated version of the classic. I hope you’ll like it. There’s infinite ways to transform the incredible, edible egg.

I N G R E D I E N T S

This recipe will produce 12 deviled eggs. Double (or triple) the amount as necessary. 😊

  • 6 high-quality fresh eggs (the larger the egg, the better)
  • 2 oz. high-grade raw tuna, finely minced
  • 1 1 / 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 Teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 Teaspoon capers, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 anchovies, finely minced
  • 4 Nicoise olives, finely minced*
  • Pinch of pepper

*If you don’t have Nicoise olives (I know I can’t always find them), black olives will work just as well as a substitute.

O p t i o n a l

For those of you anchovy lovers like me, in addition to the tarragon leaf, top each egg with an anchovy filet cut in half for extra salty and fishy goodness.

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Submerge the eggs in cold water so all the eggs fit in one layer in the pot, and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover. Once boiled, remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, submerge the eggs in ice water until they are cool enough to peel.
  2. In my experience, the easiest way to peel boiled eggs is to lightly smash either side of the egg, roll it lightly from side to side, and then peel the shell off.
  3. Slice the eggs in half, removing the yolks into a small bowl. Arrange the egg whites on a plate and put them in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
  4. Vigorously combine the egg yolks with the rest of the ingredients with a fork until fully incorporated. Taste for seasonings. They’re shouldn’t be a need for additional salt, but add if needed.
  5. Remove the egg whites from the fridge. With a small 1-inch scoop, fill each egg white half with the filling.
  6. Garnish each egg with a tarragon leaf. Place the eggs back in the fridge for at least 15 minutes so the flavors have a chance to combine and the eggs have a chance to chill. If you can’t wait, room temperature works too.
  7. Serve, making sure you eat one (or two) first, because you never know how quickly they will disappear. It’s been known to happen.

Norwegian Breakfast Bagel

If you’re like me, over the course of your life you’ll cycle between getting queasy at the thought of eating anything before 3 PM, and waking up so hungry you shun all life responsibilities (I mean you, office job) until you have eaten.

This recipe is for those of you in the latter camp.

Since I’m a sweet food hater, my go-to in the morning is a super-savory bagel that’s way too heavy on cream cheese and piled high with something like $17 worth of smoked salmon.

To give you a sense of “too heavy,” I have unabashedly piled on a solid three vertical inches of cream cheese on a bagel before.

Smoked salmon and fish in general, being a big diet staple in the Nordic region, tends to go best with the flavors that have been mingled in dishes together there, well, since forever. What’s the saying? What grows (and lives) together, goes together.

I think of the characteristic lemon, dill & red onion combo, pickled everything, seafood, eggs, gamey meats, shellfish and lots of dairy. All the best foods, all the time.

This is how much the Swedes like seafood: they sell fish roe from a tube. I, obviously, will end up buying this.

With this being a bagel and all, there’s not much cooking involved, but it doesn’t make the outcome any less delicious. Get yourself as good a quality of bagel as you can. Do rye bagels exist? If so, they’d be perfect here.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Makes 1 sandwich.

  • 1 bagel, flavor of your choosing (I went for poppyseed, onion or a grainy whole wheat)
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 oz. high-quality Nordic pickled herring from a can OR smoked & peppered Norwegian salmon
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (or double that amount, if you’d like 😉)
  • 1 / 4 medium red onion, minced
  • 1 / 4  lemon, squeezed
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

O p t i o n a l

If you want to up the fishiness factor, spread a tablespoon of salmon roe on the bagel in addition to the other ingredients, before you press the two halves together.

D I R E C T I O N S

1. Cut the bagel in half. Toast, if desired, to your preference.
2. To make the cream cheese spread, combine the cream cheese, whole grain mustard, horseradish, dill and a pinch each of salt and pepper in a small bowl.
3.  Layer half of the cream cheese on both sides of the bagel. On one half, place the smoked salmon, then the minced red onion.
4. On the other half, place the pickled herring or the smoked & peppered Norwegian salmon, and top with a squeeze of lemon. Press sandwich together.