Gone on a Holiday

Jess (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

Photo above taken by James Anderson

We’re taking a week off here at la Domestique to go on a holiday, kind of like the French do during the month of August. The husband and I are off to Seattle. If you have any recommendations for restaurants or fun things to do, please do share in the comments section. Follow la Domestique on Facebook, twitter, and instagram for a peek at what we’re up to on the road. We’ll be back next Monday, August 13, with a new ingredient of the week.

Thanks for reading la Domestique, and ciao for now!

Cook in the Moment: Gravlax

Gravlax with Rye Bread and Mustard-Dill Sauce (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

Remember when I said I was having a Nordic moment in the kitchen, back in the beginning of June? Well, I guess that moment has turned into a full on obsession that led me to making my own gravlax. In case you missed it, check out my step-by-step gravlax tutorial on Food52. Gravlax is a Scandinavian technique for preserving raw salmon with salt, sugar, and other ingredients for flavor. In its simplest form, the cure is salt, sugar, and dill, but you can get creative with spices like juniper, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds, or layer on grated beets for their earthy flavor and magenta color. A few drops of Aquavit or other clear spirit (gin, schnapps) infuses the salmon with a clean, spiced flavor.

There’s no better time to make gravlax at home than summer, since wild Alaskan salmon is in season from May to September. I used two wild Sockeye fillets because it was within my budget (King was out of my price range), and I like the leaner, clean-tasting flesh with its intense red color. After the pin bones are removed from the flesh and the cure is sprinkled over, the salmon goes in the fridge for a couple of days to do it’s thing (cure). Another great part of making gravlax in the heat of summer is you get to stay cool- no oven, no stove, no grill, no heat!

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10 Ways Tuesday: Salmon

Gravlax (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

I’ve got creative recipes for cooking with salmon during summer:

1.  Gravlax

Gravlax is a Swedish technique for preserving raw salmon with salt and sugar. Though you can buy gravlax, it’s easy to make at home, where you can control the ingredients and how the finished product will taste. I enjoy homemade gravlax for its elegant appearance and fresh flavor that is so welcome during summer when the last thing I want to do is cook with heat. After a couple days curing in the fridge, gravlax is ready to slice and serve over rye bread with mustard sauce, or in this Tarragon Potato Salad, or on a bagel with cream cheese and chives. Homemade gravlax will keep in the fridge for a week or two. Learn how to make gravlax at home by checking out my step-by-step how to on Food52.

2.  Seared Salmon with Crispy Skin

The skin on salmon isn’t an inconvenience, rather, a delicious treat when seared until crispy. Season the skin of a salmon fillet with salt and pepper and place the fillet, skin side down, in a very hot, oiled skillet. Sear until brown and crisp, about 3-4 minutes, then place the skillet into a 450 degree oven until cooked through, just a couple minutes more. This dish is about salmon pure and simple. Rich and fatty flesh paired with crackling skin is all you need.

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Ingredient of the Week: Salmon

La Domestique and Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

This week at la Domestique we’re cooking with wild salmon, fresh from the ice cold waters of the north Pacific. Wild salmon season begins in May, when the fish leave the ocean, returning to rivers to spawn. In preparation for this journey, the salmon have fattened up and their flesh is at its tastiest. The season for wild salmon lasts all summer, through September. Due to issues like overfishing, habitat destruction, and environmental impacts of farming salmon, it’s best to stick with Wild Alaskan Salmon, which the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch labels as Best Choice.

There are five species of wild Alaska salmon:

King (Chinook)
Oil content and flavor are directly related in salmon, and the King is famous for its high oil content. With a firm flesh and rich flavor, the King is well-suited to cooking on the grill.

Sockeye (Red)
Sockeye salmon are smaller and leaner than the mighty King, with an intense, bright red flesh. The flavor of sockeye is fresh and clean, making this species popular for sushi or salt-curing (gravlax).

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Cook in the Moment: Grilled Squid with Tomatoes and Basil

Grilled Squid with Tomatoes and Basil (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

This year more than any other, I’ve been reveling in summer. Time passes so quickly, it’s easy to blink your eyes and realize you’ve let a whole season go by without stopping to enjoy it. I’ve been working hard and playing hard lately. After working through the weekend trying to meet deadlines, I decided to spend an hour this afternoon lying by the pool, just to remind myself it is summer, after all. It’s important to do that, you know. To stop, to slow things down a bit and take a look around, savoring the season. Don’t take it for granted that you’re going to get another summer. Life is so fragile.

Photo above taken by photographer James Anderson

I’ve made a little list of what summer is to me, and I would love for you to share what summer is to you in the comments section.

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