Pure and simple
One day a year the Netherlands turn into an Orange on steroids, we call it Queensday. That is until today we called it that: this will be the last Queensday for at least a few decades with a new king taking the throne.
Queensday is not so much a celebration of the queen as an excuse for a great party: when I was a kid it was all about selling old junk on your doorstep. Then it became about joining the thousands of people on the streets of Amsterdam drinking way too many luke warm cans of beer. Nowadays the perfect Queensday is sitting at a friend’s window looking out on the mayhem, enjoying a lovely glass of wine.
The food that I associate with Queensday has also changed over the years: First I remember eating half of the cake I was trying to sell by slice. Then there were years of greasy shawarmas, French fries and burgers. And now I am nibbling on a few delicacies that have nothing more in common with Queensday than that they are ….orange.
These salmon bites take no effort to put together and make a great appetizer for any celebration.
Small tip: as only part of the salmon filet is thick enough to cut it into beautiful even cubes, have another recipe handy for the remaining salmon. Have some Salmon Burgers for lunch, for example.
a piece of thick sashimi quality salmon
Fish roe ( I used orange for the occasion, but black roe gives a very sticking effect as well)
- Cut the salmon into even cubes.
- Place salmon onto serving dishes.
- Top each piece with a dollop of roe.
- Cut the green parts of the spring onion into oval slices.
- Top each cube with a few onion slices.
Tips & Variations
You could prepare the fish in a soy sauce marinade for an Asian twist
Enjoy gravlax with ease
Why are we so ready to believe that great results require great effort?
We live in a culture that tells us that to achieve anything worthwhile, we have to work hard, to struggle and to fight. But I am beginning to feel that quite the opposite is true. There is no proof that struggle leads us to success. Actually the focus on battling through life seems to undermine any goals of peace and happiness.
The key seems to be to look at life through different eyes; to let go of fear and strife, and to replace them with effortless and creative living.
So with this in mind, this post is not just a recipe for wonderfully tasty cured salmon, but my proof that effortless living is the secret to joy
For this dish you need to do nothing more than wrap some fish in salt, sugar and dill. Let some days pass (they will do that all on their own) and then enjoy the experience of a beautifully, clean tasting, tender piece of cured salmon.
(And just to prove that ease and adventure go together hand in hand, see “tips and variations” below for a truly wild way of making gravlax.)
400g fresh salmon skin on
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
a large bunch of dill
- Rinse the salmon and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Place a double layer of cling film on your counter top. Place half the dill on the cling film.
- Combine salt and sugar. And rub all over the fish.
- Place fish on cling film and dill. Top with remaining dill.
- Wrap fish tightly in cling film and place into a (zip lock) bag.
- Put the parcel in a Tupperware container or oven dish.
- Place a plate or chopping board on the fish and weigh it down with heavy objects. (Or completely forget about this step as I sometimes seem to do.)
- Keep the salmon in the fridge for 3-5 days. It is best to turn the fish once a day to ensure even curing.
- Unwrap the fish and discard the dill.
- Rinse, pat dry and remove the skin.
- Cutting against the grain, serve in thin slices.
- The cured fish keeps for at least one week in the refrigerator.
Tips & Variations
Consider some of the following
- add a little crushed black pepper to the salt and sugar
- drizzle the fish with a tablespoon of vodka or aquavit
- Add lemon zest
Adventurous Gravad Lax
A friend of mine shared his way of making Gravlax with me. It is so much more exciting & wild than my “domesticated” recipe. Unfortunately it is a true winter recipe that requires frost. So although winter is hardly gone I am already looking forward to its return to try this myself.
- Rub the salmon generously with Cognac (he uses Osborne)
- Wrap the fish in aluminum foil and then in cling film.
- Bury the fish in the garden about 40cm deep (this is where the name originates from: gravad lax.)
- Dig up three weeks later and enjoy.
Thank you GdB for this amazing recipe!
Healthy, delicate tuna tartar
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I am grateful for any occasion that reminds me to be appreciative. And so to me Thanksgiving is an invitation to think about all that I am thankful for: my family, my friends, myself, the life I lead and just plain everything (summarizing here…)
I was reminded of just how much I am thankful for, when I was invited to a pot-luck thanksgiving dinner last weekend. The theme, of course, was showing thanks; it took me days to decide what to cook. Such a struggle to settle on one dish when you can only think of more and more things you are thankful for.
So I decided to show my appreciation for abundance by bringing a little bit of EVERYTHING: the sea, the land and the skies.; little cups flowing over with either Tuna Tartare, Spicy Beef or Asian Chicken.
For a glance at the other recipes at this special Edible Europe Dinner click here.
Below the recipe for the tuna tartar. Recipes for the beef and chicken will follow as an instruction on how to make little wonton cups
(based on Ina Gartner’s recipe from the Food Network.com)
250g sushi quality tuna
1 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1/2 lime
juice of 1/4 lime
1/4 tsp wasabi (powder)
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp Tabasco
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 chopped spring onions
1/2 red chili
1 avocado (can be left out)
Optional: 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Combine oil, lime zest and juice, wasabi, soy, Tabasco, salt and pepper.
- Cut tuna into very small dice. Add to the marinade.
- Discard the seeds and chop the chili as well as the spring onion very fine. Save some of the spring onion as garnish. Add remainder to the fish.
- Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Cut the avocado into small cubes. Combine with the fish. Spoon into the wonton cups. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Decorate with reserved spring onion.
- a cracker or toast. Choose a neutral flavour that will match the delicate Asian taste of the tartar.
- shallow fry a sheet of wonton in some oil, allow to drain and use it as a “cracker”
- make little cups out of wonton sheets
A heavenly dish with all the flavours of the sea
This post was inspired by a recent trip to Hamburg and a dinner at “Die Fischkueche“. The dish is like the city: straight-forward yet elegant; down-to-earth yet set for the seas.
Such a simple plate: some fish, some shrimp, a potato – but what an amazing combination of flavours and textures. A dish that feels like home even if you have never eaten it before.
This simple meal relies solely on the pure flavours of its few ingredients. It will only taste wonderful if you use high-quality produce. If you use the vacuum-packed fish and prawns from your supermarket however, this dish is sure to disappoint. Go to your fishmonger for seafood that tastes of the far-reaching ocean and bring it home to your kitchen table.
Hamburg soaked in sunshine
(inspired by Restaurant “Brahms: die Fischkueche” in Hamburg)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
2 filleted soles
Optional: lemon wedge
- Allow the fish to come to room temperature in about 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil moderately in a frying pan. Add the butter and allow to foam.
- Season the sole. Fry for about 2 minutes a side.
- Tip the pan to one side and allow the butter to form a pool.
- Put the shrimp into the butter.
- Plate the sole and scatter the shrimp across.
- Optional: Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with a lemon wedge.
- A plain steamed young potato.
- A few blanched green beans or asparagus stalks.
One of my favourite quick dinners: Lentil Strawberry Salad with Tuna
Amazing: healthy, quick and bursting with flavour, this is one of my favourite go-to meals.
A beautiful combination of earthy lentils, sweet tangy strawberries and peppery basil. A fabulously summery dish to celebrate those last warm days of the season.
This must also be one of the quickest recipes I know. Perfect for a hot day where you want to be playing outside instead of being stuck in a steaming kitchen. At the same time this dish is so original and fresh tasting I am sure you will be making this long after the summer has gone.
(recipe only slightly adapted from the blog ‘healthy delicious‘)
2 cans of lentils (or you could of course cook180g (1cup) lentils du Puy)
1/2 re onion
about 8 large strawberries
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
a handful of basil leaves
2 tuna steaks
- Allow the tuna to come to room temperature.
- If you are using canned lentils: rinse the lentils and allow to drain.
If you are using dried lentils: Bring the lentils and 375ml (1 1/2 cups) water to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes until tender.
- Whisk oil, balsamic and seasoning together.
- Finely chop the red onion.
- Mix the dressing and onion with the (warm) lentils (and allow to cool).
- Cut the strawberries into large pieces.
- Cut the basil into thin little strands.
- Heat a frying pan and fry the tuna on a medium high heat. About 2-3 minutes per side. You are looking for a golden crust and a juicy raw center.
- Fold the strawberries and basil under the lentils and adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Serve the tuna with the strawberry salad on the side.
Something green: cooked green beans or just a handful of rapunzel salad (DE: Feldsalat NL: veldsla)
Tips & Variations
This salad would also work well with a chicken breast or a steak.