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Friday, May 27, 2011

Salmon Pastrami: Condiments

Salmon pastrami on a cracker with
crême fraîche and raw capers
My preferred combination of toppings for Salmon Pastrami rolls is sour cream, caramelized capers and blanched onions.  Crême fraîche, pickled onions, caramelized onions, raw capers and chopped chives are also good choices. 

Blanching onions takes the raw, heartburn-y bite out of them, but leaves their flavor and crunch.  While briny, raw capers cut the richness of salmon, caramelizing capers transforms them into a sweet-but-tart condiment with a caviar-like pop in the mouth.  Crême fraîche is a milder cousin to sour cream, but is often hard to find (and expensive when you do).  Making it at home is a snap with buttermilk powder.

Caramelized Capers
Makes 1/4 cup

4 tbsp capers, drained and dried
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp sugar

Drain capers and put them on a paper towel for a few minutes to get good and dry.  Melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat in a small skillet.  Add capers and cook until they sizzle a bit.  Add sugar and cook, stirring, until the capers are brown and glazed.  Serve at room temperature.

Caramelized Onions
Makes 1 cup

2 medium onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup butter
large pinch brown sugar

Melt butter over medium heat in wide skillet.  Add onions and stir to coat with butter.  Saute until softened, then add sugar and stir well.  Continue to cook over medium or medium-low heat until well-browned but not burned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Blanched Onions
Makes 1 cup

1 large onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
Boiling water

Pour boiling water over onion and let stand 5-10 minutes.  Drain onions, and store in a paper-towel lined bowl until ready to serve.

Pickled Onions
Makes 1 cup

1 large onion, peeled halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar

Mix water, vinegar and sugar in a microwaveable bowl, and zap for 20 seconds or so.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Pour over onion slices and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Drain and refrigerate until time to serve.

Crême fraîche
Makes 1 cup

1 cup heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized, if you can find it)
2 tbsp buttermilk powder

Warm cream in microwave for 15 seconds.  Whisk in buttermilk powder.  Let stand at room temperature, loosely covered, overnight or for 8 hours.  When thickened, cover and refrigerate.  If yours doesn't firm up as much as you want, spoon the mixture into a sieve lined with a coffee filter and let it drain for several hours. Pin It

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