Monday, January 4, 2010

Cool comfort food

Not all comfort food is full of carbs. Some, like Chef Michael Somer's signature gravlax from the Rock Hall Bed & Breakfast in Connecticut's Litchfield Hills is almost good for you.

Michael, a Wall Streeter-turned-chef, and his wife, Stella, designer of knitwear, interiors and fine jewelry, run the Addison Mizner-designed B & B.

Michael's Signature Rock Hall Gravlax

Half a side of salmon - skin on fillet, about 2 1/2 lbs, from the large end
 [Chef says organic farm raised yields neater slices with the best texture]
1 oz cognac
1/2 cup salt
5/8 cup  sugar
1 TBS cracked black pepper
1 1/2 TBS ground coriander seeds
Large bunch of dill

Place the salmon, skin side down, on a large sheet of plastic wrap and check for small bones.
Drizzle cognac over the flesh. 
Combine salt, sugar, cracked black pepper and seeds in a small bowl and spread mixture evenly over fillet.
Chop a large bunch of dill - stems and leaves -  and coat the entire fillet with the chopped dill.
Wrap the plastic wrap tightly around the salmon, weigh down with a brick and refrigerate 48 hours.
Unwrap, rinse with cold water and slice on the diagonal; discard skin.
Serve with soft goat cheese, creme fraiche or cream cheese along with lemon wedges, mustard sauce or a touch of good vinegar.

If there's any left, consider ...

Rock Hall's Signature Gravlax Sandwich

Ciabatta style roll, sliced lengthwise
4 - 5 slices Michael's gravlax
2 TBS tomato chutney or thinly sliced cucumber and thinly sliced radish
2 oz creamy goat cheese (Chef loves Monterey Chevre's thyme and olive oil) or cream cheese
1/2 tsp minced fresh chives
1/2 tsp freshly snipped dill
1 tbsp EVOO olive oil
salt and pepper

Assemble and season to taste.

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