Monday, January 03, 2011

New York State of Mind

The cream and buttermilk combo actually turned into creme fraiche, just like Alice Waters said it would! I don't know why I doubted her.

With a cute little jar of creme fraiche on hand and almost the entire contents of my fridge comprised of smoked salmon (I love smoked salmon for New Year's), dill that was just a day shy of the compost bin, and various condiments, I decided to make Smoked Salmon Eggs. This is a recipe I invented a few years ago right around New Year's, a time of year when I tend to have smoked salmon on hand. In exploring new ways to eat it, other than with cream cheese on a bagel, I landed on this.

Don't get me wrong. I have been a smoked salmon lover my whole life. It was the highlight (and still is) of many a family holiday brunch, whether for Christmas, New Year's, Easter, or any other time I could convince Mom to buy some. Smoked salmon + cream cheese + capers + dill + bagel = heaven. 

That divine combination reminds me of the summer I lived in New York. I had a little Sunday morning ritual:  I'd hit up Starbucks for an iced americano, then walk down Broadway to H&H for a fresh Everything bagel, stopping at Zabar's on the way home for smoked salmon and the requisite accoutrements as noted above. The last stop on the way home was at a newsstand to get the Sunday New York Times. Upon arriving home, because I was apparently living in a fantasyland, I would park myself on my blue chaise lounge on the terrace attached to my penthouse apartment and read Sunday Styles, the Travel section, the Magazine, the Book Review, The Week In Review, and the Front Section (in that order) while dining on my bagel and sipping my coffee. If it was particularly nice out, I would accomplish all this in a swimsuit. Once I'd made my way through the paper, I'd start in on the Sunday Crossword. In pen.

Charmed life, much?

Anyhow, today I woke up with a headache which didn't go away all day, and I now keep eyeing the clock wondering how early is too early to go to bed. Probably as soon as I'm done with this glass of wine. This recipe is like comfort food to me and it seemed the perfect reminder of how charmed my life so often is, even if I don't live in an Upper West Side three bedroom/two bath penthouse apartment in a 24-hour doorman building with a private 500 square foot roof terrace and a grand piano in the living room.

Kate's Smoked Salmon Eggs
Serves 1. Easily doubled or tripled or whatever.

2 eggs, beaten with a fork
1 tablespoon creme fraiche (A trick from Jacques Pepin. You can sub sour cream if you haven't made your own creme fraiche yet.)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained
2 ounces smoked salmon, roughly chopped
2 pinches of kosher salt, divided
a few grinds of black pepper, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped or 1/4 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon butter

A few sprigs of dill
A teaspoon or so of creme fraiche

1. Combine the eggs, creme fraiche, dill, capers, salmon, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until well combined. Set aside (ideally next to the stove).

Here are the ingredients all ready to go for step 1. Sorry about the bad lighting and weird shadows. Please also note the nice new cutting board. It was a Christmas gift from Mom. Thanks Mom!
2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a nonstick skillet (I use a 10" for this). When it is foamy, add the onion, plus a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper and stir occasionally until onions are caramelized. Adjust the heat so they don't cook too quickly. This will probably take 10 minutes.

3. Turn the heat down to low and wait 2 minutes for the pan to cool a bit. Then add the egg mixture all at once into the pan. Stir gently to separate the ingredients, then proceed to slowly scramble the eggs over low heat. This should take 5 to 8 minutes when the heat is properly low. The dish is done when the salmon is opaque.

4. Turn the eggs out onto a plate and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche and some dill. I like to plate up my eggs with a couple of homemade bagel chips as sometimes the eggs weep a bit and the juices on the plate are delicious. (Homemade bagel chips: Slice a bagel into 5 or 6 latitudinal slices and stick in the toaster, one slice per slot...yes, I just said latitudinal in a recipe. This is a great way to use leftover bagels that are a bit past their prime, or that bottom of a bagel that's left over after only eating half.) Sopping the juices up with a homemade bagel chip is slightly classier than just licking the juices directly off the plate, not that I would know from personal experience. A little glass of French Chardonnay isn't a bad addition, either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you have just made me very hungry. I LOVE smoked salmon