Easy like Easter Morning: A luscious way to start any weekend morning
Easter brings back memories for me both as a child and as a mother. The coincidence of Easter with Spring is not by accident. We're all ready for a bit of springtime hope, joy, and freedom around this time of year ... and so it has been for thousands of years.
If you want a bit of culinary hope, joy, and freedom for an upcoming weekend treat, whether or not you've got big plans for decorating eggs or putting up pictures of bunnies, I've got some incredibly delicious -- and fun! -- suggestions.
Salt and sugar brined salmon
I’ve done this with lots of different kinds of fish, but the salmon version is by far the most delicate and buttery version. It’s so fantastically easy, it will leave you smacking your head thinking, why have I been buying this all these years?
Your salmon revelation for the season is set to begin.
Four days before you intend to eat this salmon miracle, start the brining.
- 1 piece of good quality salmon, skin on (important here!)
- 3-4 pounds per piece
You need a vessel for the salmon -- and something heavy to weigh down the salmon -- while it brines. Choose a non-reactive piece of plasticware, and a plate or clean piece of dense wood that fits snugly inside the plasticware container ... and some cans ... oh, just read on. You'll see.
- Mix thoroughly 2 cups kosher salt and 1 cup sugar using a fork or spoon
- In your plastic container, pour 1/2 of that combination (about 1-1/2 cups) to cover the bottom.
- Place the fish, skin side down, on the salt and sugar.
- Add the remaining salt and sugar mixture on top. Cover that tightly with plastic film wrap.
- Here’s the magical part: The weighting ... and the waiting. Find a board, or a plate to place on top of that fish that fits INSIDE the confines of the plastic container. Now add onto the board/plate some canned goods, or your 3 pound free weights. (I used hand-cut single serving cheese boards I made for a kids party which happen to fit neatly inside my plasticware container. Then I put two large cans of crushed tomatoes on top.) It doesn’t matter what’s in the cans, what does matter is the weight!
- With the salmon covered and weighted down, put it into the fridge for at least four days. Yes, four days. I KNOW ... THE WAITING! Believe me, you’ll thank me for this epic do-ahead pre-set. The one you see in the photos I let brine for seven days. A full week. And worth the wait: It’s buttery and and yet firm enough to slice easily.
After your brining is done, pull the salmon out of the refrigerator carefully. It may slosh, because during brining the salmon will extrude its “liquid." Just gingerly walk it to the sink and pour off the liquid. (No discussions about adding it to a cocktail please. My fella thought it could be used for such a culinary experiment. I’ve banished him from the test kitchen.)
Liquid drained, now remove the salmon from its sweet/salt cave and very gingerly wash off the crusted salt and sugar mixture. Pat dry gently, and well, with paper towels.
With a well-sharpened knife (seriously, at least hone it first), cut this darling across the grain into micro wafer thin slices, right to the edge of the skin.
And, voila—you just won brunch.
Here are other delicious things you can add to that sugar and salt.
- fresh dill
- black pepper
- red pepper
- garlic powder
- Aleppo flakes
In any combination.
Your imagination awaits.
Serve with toasted bagels, cream cheese (or cream fraiche), capers, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced red onions.
Do not scrimp on the bagels. Turn on your inner Encyclopedia Brown and go on a bagel quest in your town.
And, because you'll love this salmon so much, you'll want to eat every bit of it. I’ll give you a few ideas with what to do with the leftovers -- if there are any! -- on Thursdays Instagram post.
Get at it!! You want this ready by Sunday, right?
Sweet pea and hash brown quiche
This recipe fits beautifully in EuroCAST's 10 inch sauté pan. And of course ... that will make clean-up a snap.
Every single ingredient in this quiche is a star, and they make room for the other stars, too. So grab your shopping basket!
- 1 recipe pâte brisé or 1 pre-made pie crust dough you can roll out into the skillet
- 2 cups cooked and crisped hash browns
- 1 cup bleached fresh English peas (you can you use frozen, but before using make sure they are thawed, well drained, and dried)
- 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 whole leek split then sliced thin into half-moons, carefully rinsed and patted dry
- 5 jumbo eggs, or 7 medium-sized eggs
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1 t. kosher salt
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- 5 oz. goat cheese
- Fresh chives
- Fresh flat leaf parsley
- Roll out the pie crust to fit the 10 inch EuroCAST skillet, making it of even thickness and pushing it up the sides.
- Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork (don't push too hard -- you don't want to scratch the non-stick surface) and then layer the cooked hash browns into the bottom of the crust.
- Add the peas.
- Place the skillet -- handle removed -- on a large cookie sheet. (Check out our website to see how to remove and put on the handles.)
- In a bowl, beat the eggs with the half-and-half, salt, and pepper
- Add the leeks to the bowl (yes, the leeks are uncooked)
- Pour this on top of the pie crust, hash browns, and peas
- Add the bacon to the center of the pie and place the goat cheese around like the numbers on a clock. They may look a bit like Easter eggs!
- Cook @350 F until the center has set and the top has begun to brown. About 25-35 minutes. If the top is not set and the crust begins to brown, tent it loosely with tin foil until the eggs are set
- Remove from oven and let rest to firm up more
- Decorate with snipped fresh chives and flat leaf parsley
May be served warm, or as part of this brunch, at room temperature.
Fruit salad composition
Fruit salad is the loveliest, easiest way to say, “I was thinking about you.” It doesn’t have to be a dramatic affair getting it together, just thoughtful, easy choices for assemblage.
The rest is left up to nature's genius. One tip: If you get Opal apples, they don't brown! Speaking of nature's genius.
I like to keep the berries whole, including the strawberries. If you have a lovely flat platter or large wooden bowl, you can simply pour the contents of the fruit container into little piles. (I told you this was easy.)
- Start with the anchors: Green grapes, along with pineapple (or mango) you can find already cut at the grocery store. Lay those in first since they serve sort of like gesso on a canvas -- you're getting everything ready for the explosion of color to follow.
- Now add washed strawberries, sliced bananas, sliced Opal apples
- Then black berries, blueberries and (if you're lucky enough to find them) a few raspberries
The result? A glorious demonstration of the goodness that we have at our fingertips.
Place (or tear up) on top of the fruity some fresh mint, and finish with some edible flowers. If you haven't tried edible flowers yet, c'mon! It's Spring!