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Beet-Cured Gravlax
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Beet-Cured Gravlax

Aquavit, New York City, Marcus Jernmark / March 2013

For 8 servings (requires advance preparation)

Forgotten beets:

  • hay
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 jumbo red beets
  1. Heat oven to 195°F.

  2. Place enough hay in hotel pan to cover bottom; add thyme sprigs; ignite with a blowtorch; smother flame with a lid; place beets in pan; cover; cook at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

  3. Remove beets from hotel pan; cool; thinly slice on a mandoline; trim into even circles with a 2" ring mold; reserve beet trimmings and beet circles separately.

  4. Place beet trimmings on a plate; dehydrate overnight at room temperature (should be fully dry); pulse in a processor until a fine powder; place in airtight container; cover; reserve.

Foie gras:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/8 tsp. pink salt
  • 1 lb. foie gras, trimmed and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp. white Port
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Cognac
  1. Mix milk and pink salt in a bowl until salt has dissolved; submerge foie gras; cover; reserve in refrigerator overnight.

  2. Remove foie gras from milk; rinse under cold running water; place in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; add Port, salt, and Cognac; vacuum seal; reserve in refrigerator 12 hours.

  3. Remove foie gras from refrigerator; cook sous-vide, maintaining water bath at 122°F, 20 minutes; remove bag from water bath; cool.

  4. Strain contents of bag through fine chinois; discard liquid; place foie gras in a processor; blend until smooth and emulsified (if runny, pour into a bowl set in ice water bath and stir with rubber spatula until firm); divide foie gras mixture among sheets of plastic wrap; roll tightly into logs; seal ends of plastic wrap well; place in ice water bath; cool completely; remove from water; reserve in freezer until set.

Gravlax sauce:

  • 2/3 cup dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsps. lemon juice, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 Tbsps. espresso, cold
  • 2 Tbsps. mild mustard
  • 2 tsps. Japanese mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • .2 g xanthan gum
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • salt
  • white pepper, freshly ground

Whisk dill and sugar in small bowl until sugar is green and fragrance of dill is released; stir in 3 Tbsps. juice, espresso, both mustards, honey, and xanthan gum; gradually add oil, whisking constantly until emulsified; season; add more juice to taste; cover; reserve.

Pickled beets & mustard seeds:

  • 1 Tbsp. allspice berries
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2" piece horseradish, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2" piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups ättika (Swedish vinegar)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 red baby beets, poached and chilled in ice water bath
  • 2 Tbsps. plus 2 tsps. mustard seeds, blanched 2 to 3 minutes
  1. Toast allspice berries and peppercorns in small skillet set over medium heat until fragrant; remove from heat; cool; place in large bowl; add onion, carrot, horseradish, ginger, and bay leaves.

  2. Bring vinegar, sugar, and 4 cups water to a boil in steam kettle, stirring until sugar is dissolved; strain through fine chinois into the bowl of aromatics; cool; reserve.

  3. Rub skins from beets with clean kitchen towel; place in airtight plastic container; pour pickling liquid over just to cover, reserving remaining brine for mustard seeds; cover container; let beets pickle 2 to 3 days.

  4. Place mustard seeds in plastic airtight container; add remaining brine to cover; cover container; let mustard seeds pickle overnight.

  5. Cut each beet in half; cut each half into 3 wedges; reserve.

Beet cure:

  • 3 cups fresh beet juice (from raw beets)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups salt
  • 1 blood orange, zested
  • 5 sprigs dill
  • 1/2 Tbsp. white peppercorns
  1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in large saucepan; remove from heat; cool; cover; reserve in refrigerator overnight.

  2. Strain beet cure through fine chinois into clean container; cover; reserve.

Assembly:

  • 1 1/2 lb. skinless salmon top loin
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 blood orange, cut evenly into 24 segments
  • wood sorrel (for garnish)
  • lava salt (for garnish)
  1. Cut salmon into 8  10" long by 1" thick strips; place in loaf pan or terrine mold (salmon can overlap); cover with beet cure; cover; refrigerate, flipping every hour, 4 hours.

  2. Remove a piece of salmon from beet cure; cut into the end of piece of salmon; if there is any white residue on the knife, continue to cure; once completely cured, remove all salmon pieces; rinse quickly; pat dry with clean kitchen towel; place on a sheet of plastic wrap; roll tightly into logs (make sure there are no air bubbles); reserve in refrigerator up to 1 week (color will continue to seep into salmon and deepen).

  3. To serve, cut each salmon strip into three pieces; season; divide among plates; place 3 dollops gravlax sauce on each plate; top each dollop with pickled mustard seeds.

  4. Place rolled forgotten beets on plates; add 3 pickled beets; arrange 3 blood orange segments on each plate.

  5. Remove foie gras from freezer; shave very thinly on a mandoline; scatter around 3 shavings per plate; garnish with sorrel leaves and stems; finish with 3 small piles of beet powder and a sprinkle of lava salt.

What to drink: Copain Chardonnay Mendocino Tous Ensemble 2010