This Saturday I went to the Salcedo Market as usual, this time to gather ingredients for an event so epic it would make every other day of the week seem banal and trite by comparison. For one morning we will forgo flavorless bowls of twigs and skim milk in favor of good market fresh foods. No more anxiously waiting for the clock to tick noon to take our first sip of sweet sweet booze as we carelessly disregard all norms of society and tact. This is brunch.
This is best conducted on a lazy Sunday and if done right you may want to block off Monday too. Having just returned from the States I was eager to incorporate some of the goodies we brought back, particularly my Ohio maple syrup and pickled ramps.
Ramps are a type of allium, like onions, garlic and leeks. They are native to the Midwest and only appear in early-spring. They have become highly sought after by upscale restaurants in major cities across the US. They have a really nice woodsy-garlicky kind of flavor. In order to bring them back, we pickled them in red wine vinegar with salt, sugar and spices.
On the menu:
CARABAO MILK PANCAKES ohio maple syrup
LAPU LAPU LOX, PICKLED RAMPS, PAKO SALAD yogurt dill sauce
EGG GRATIN comté, tomate, chinese red spinach, béchamel
OYSTER MUSHROOM POTATO HASH garlic confit
CANDIED BACON coco sugar
Though typically made with salmon, about any kind of fresh fish can be used. Seeing how salmon comes from Scandinavia and lapu lapu is local I went with the latter.
To make lox start with really fresh fish. Remove the fillets or have your fish monger do it for you. It can be done with the skin on or off. I removed the skin first.
For the curing mix:
2 cups sea salt
1 cup sugar
1 bunch fresh dill, torn
zest of one lemon, grated
1 star anise pod, crushed
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
Place the fish fillets on a plate and coat them liberally with the curing mix on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Find something heavy in your fridge and put it right on top to press the fillets. Allow to cure for about 12 hours, draining the liquid once or twice. Once cured, rinse off the curing mix and pat dry. Slice thinly to serve.
Traditionally salmon lox are served with cream cheese on bagels. I served mine with pickled ramps and pako salad (a native fern-like green) and a simple sauce of yogurt, whole grain mustard, horseradish and fresh dill.
Other epic food and drink: