Posts Tagged With: slow food

cured salmon (gravlax) + crispy salmon skin bacon!

One of the most amazing things we buy from Athens Locally Grown (our awesome online farmer’s market) is wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

Doug’s Wild Alaska Salmon is not technically local since Alaska is many miles away, but the business is based out of nearby South Carolina–lucky us! So Micah and I pretty much have year-round access to beautiful flash-frozen salmon fillets.

They’ve cooked up beautifully for us many times (though some of you might remember the date-night dinner disaster I detailed in one of my very first posts), but I’ve been itching to try curing and/or smoking one of these pretty pink slabs of fish to see how it would turn out.

I based my cure on Paul Hinrich’s recipe from Salon.com (which, in turn, was adapted from Professional Charcuterie by John Kinsella and David T. Harvey), but I also borrowed inspiration from Traci Des Jardins’ recipe on Chow and versions by Georgia Pellegrini and Doris and Jilly. (I figured the more recipes I read, the more I’d understand how the process works so I could figure it out on my own next time!)

What’s in it:

  • one 1-1/2 pound salmon fillet with skin but no bones
  • 6 ounces kosher salt
  • 3 ounces brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon each black peppercorns, coriander seeds, juniper berries, and caraway seeds, coarsely ground in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle

Step-by-step:

  • In a large glass dish, mix the salt, sugar, and spices.
  • Add the salmon and cover it completely with the curing mixture.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24-36 hours or until the thickest part of the salmon is no longer squishy to the touch.
  • Rinse off the cure, pat dry the salmon, slice, and store.

(You could also include a smoking step with a DIY cold-smoker like Micah uses for his bacon, but I decided to save that for another time.)

I’ve heard this stuff will keep a few weeks in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer…but I’ll be surprised if it lasts that long in our house!

And, as if all this delicious fishiness weren’t enough–when I was reading the Chowhound recipe, one commenter suggested frying the skin like bacon.

Y’all know how I feel about bacon.

So, of course, I had to give it a try. We cut the skin into long, skinny strips, coated a skillet with olive oil spray, and cooked the skin up on medium heat until it was nice and crispy.

Add scrambled eggs (tossed with a little goat cheese and Greek yogurt), plus capers, dill, and a pretty little pile of the salmon, and we had ourselves a gourmet brunch!

creamy eggs + tangy goat cheese + briny capers + salty salmon + crispy skin = yum!

creamy eggs + tangy goat cheese + briny capers + salty salmon + crispy skin = yum!

 

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Categories: recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

we are the big bad wolf (or, what we did with the pig that didn’t get away)

So, a while back, I pretty much swore to you guys that Micah and I wouldn’t be buying another pig head.

I lied.

Oops.

Here’s the thing:

Micah really, really loves curing him some pig meat.

He most recently made bacon from a pretty slab of pork belly, but one of his favorite and most frequent curing projects is guanciale, a salty and porky cured Italian hog jowl that tastes kind of like bacon on steroids.

And lately, we’ve been having trouble finding hog jowls from any of our usual sources. None in the Athens Locally Grown listings, none in the Moonshine Meats farm store.

It’s like every recently slaughtered pig within a 100-mile radius is mysteriously without cheeks.

We’re almost out of bacon, so the situation was getting urgent. Dire, even.

Micah emailed Eric at ALG, and he suggested that Micah contact Greendale Farm–who turned out to also be sold out of hog jowls.

But they did have whole heads.

So, guys, it was an accident, but yes…we did end up with another massive pig head in our refrigerator.

I’ll spare your gag reflexes and forgo the photo of the whole big ol’ head staring at you…but I do have to share the impressive amount of pantry staples one head will yield.

First, the jowls:

in about two and a half more weeks, we’ll be in hog heaven with this cheeky, streaky bacon

And here’s the rest of the haul:

look at that army of freezer jars…..

So, what exactly is all this stuff?

Well, here’s what one pig head will very generously give you:

  • about 3 to 3-1/2 pounds delicious home-cured hog jowl bacon
  • 3 gallons + 2 cups pork stock (freeze in 1- to 2-cup portions for easy additions to soups, stews, and sauces)
  • 1 cup lard (makes a great cooking fat, especially for brunch and Southern fixins)
  • about 1 pound pig skin trimmings (perfect for seasoning beans, greens, and soups)
  • about 2 pounds pulled pork meat (which we used to make some fantastic barbecue sandwiches)
  • 1 pork tongue (I have no idea what Micah plans to do with this, but it’s in our freezer…I’ll keep you posted!)

Micah spent pretty much a whole day prepping all this stuff, but now we’ve got a freezer and refrigerator full of delicious pork products that cost us next to nothing.

Was it worth it?

Yep, I do believe it was.

And, because I’m sure some of you are wondering:

No, we did NOT make any headcheese with this hog head. We picked the meat off of the skull, but we left all that weird cartilaginous stuff out of our harvest.

I swear, we’ll never make headcheese again.

Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t swear. I haven’t been too good at keeping promises lately. 🙂

Categories: musings, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

know your food

I already posted this video with my other Red Clay writings last week, but I wanted it to also have its own link here because the message is pretty important to me. If you’ve already watched it, feel free to view again or not. If you haven’t, I would love for you to take a look and tell me what you think:

Click here for image credits.

I’m also sharing  my video with Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday for June 29th.

If you’re as interested as I am in slow food, local/sustainable foods, whole foods, etc., visit their site. I had never seen it until one of my friends from Red Clay mentioned it to me the other day, and I have to say, it’s pretty amazing.

Categories: links, musings | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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