Happy Spring!! Spring is absolutely my favorite season! It starts to get warmer but not too hot just yet and my plants have a fighting chance to get their growth spurts before I have a chance to do something to kill them.
When I think of springtime, it just makes me want to eat huge bowls of fresh veggies picked right out of the garden. Speaking of gardens, through my volunteer work in 4-H I was able to be a part of a fantastic event this last weekend. Basically it was an outreach to families in under privileged areas nearby. They learned all about nutrition, food preservation, cooking healthy meals and where your fruits and vegetables come from. It was a great success! The kids were smiling non stop all day – and so were the parents. I loved being a part of a wonderful learning experience.
I felt inspired by my day on the farm. I had decided to give you a week dedicated to fish, for a few reasons. One, this is the last week of lent so I thought – better late than never – to give you a few ways to change up fish Fridays. And two, fish is a healthier protein that I really want to start using more often. Now, that being said, not everything I give you this week will be 100% healthy, but I do guarantee it will taste awesome!
So back to my inspiration. Surrounded by fresh veggies and fruit all day will inspire you to go home and make a giant salad. I also wanted to create a feast of fresh foods that just beg for you to taste them.
My first fish recipe this week is salmon gravlax with a horseradish, lemon and dill cream cheese. I used to be slightly afraid of things called lox or gravlax. It sounds daunting, but it’s not, I promise! So gravlax and lox are actually different. Gravlax is cured with salt, sugar and dill almost always. You weigh the fish down too as it cures so the flavor gets infused much faster.
Having gravlax on fresh bagels with cream cheese and fresh sliced veggies would just make my day. I pumped up the cream cheese with a some pretty intense flavors, but man does it work! The horseradish, lemon and dill all compliment the salmon beautifully. Not to mention I added cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, and red onion to my bagel and it becomes a literal party. On a bagel!
- 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skin on and pin-bones removed
- 1/8 cup kosher salt
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small bunch fresh dill sprigs
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated horseradish
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Cut the salmon fillet in half crosswise so you have two pieces about the same size.
- In a small bowl mix together the salt, sugar, and black pepper. Sprinkle half the mixture over each fillet and rub it in lightly with your fingers. Place the dill sprigs over one fillet and lay the other fillet, flesh side down, on top of the dill-covered fillet. Tightly wrap the fillets in the plastic wrap. Place the salmon in a small baking dish, top with another baking dish or plate and weight the top with cans or other heavy objects to compress the fish; refrigerate.
- Twice a day, turn the salmon package over, replacing the weights. The gravlax is done when the flesh is firm, about 3-4 days.
- When ready to serve, remove the dill from the salmon, rinse in cold water and dry with paper towels. With a sharp knife held at a very flat angle, slice a few inches in from the end of the fillet with a back-and-forth sawing motion to remove a thin slice. Start each succeeding slice a bit farther in; always cut at a flat angle to keep the slices as long and thin as possible. When the blade reaches the skin, shave the slice off-- don't cut through the skin.
- To make the cream cheese, mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight to let flavors develop. Serve spread on bagels with the gravlax and assorted veggies.