Saturday, March 2, 2013

Potatoes Anna with Sonoran Lox and Crème Fresh

Potatoes Anna
Are you looking for an easy way to eat America’s favorite vegetable?  That’s right the potato is America’s favorite vegetable, hence the name The King of Vegetables.  Potatoes are delicious, en-expensive and good for you.  We eat them, on average, at least five times a week.  So we’re always looking for a new potato recipe.   “Potatoes Anna” is a delicious thin potato pancake.  But, until now, they required a mandolin (French Kitchen tool for slicing), because the secret to “Potatoes Anna” is in cutting the potatoes paper-thin. If they are not this thin they don’t stick together. This slicing can be done with a knife if the cook is very talented.  Even food processors can cut the potatoes too thick.  There is an en-expensive new tool called a ceramic slicer that’s made by Kyocera.  They come in two variations adjustable and non-adjustable.  If using the adjustable slicer make sure to set it on the thinnest setting.  The non-adjustable slicer is set at the correct thickness.  This also works wonders on slicing paper-thin cucumbers. 
We serve the “Potatoes Anna” several different ways, including: plain with poached eggs for breakfast, with a slice of black forest ham in the center and a thin slice of baby Swiss cheese on top for lunch and we also use an iron skillet and make them on the grill with grilled meat, chicken or fish.
 Today’s recipe includes Crème fresh and thin sliced lox (recipe below) or smoked salmon. The Crème fresh can be substituted with sour cream.  But, if you’d like you can make your own Crème fresh at home by combining one part of fresh buttermilk with eight parts heavy whipping cream.  Just place the cream mixture in a glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 24 hours. It will become thick.  Give the mixture a stir and place it in the refrigerator.  It can be stored for up to 10 days and tastes much richer than commercially made sour cream.
This recipe is a big hit at Sunday Brunch.  Try serving it with a good sparkling wine and fresh fruit. 

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, sliced paper-thin (Do not rinse after slicing)
1 Tbl. Corn or olive oil
1 Tbl. Sweet butter
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
A dollop of crème fresh or sour cream
A small thin slice of smoked salmon, rolled into a rosette
1/2  tsp. caviar
Sprig of fresh dill
1 tsp. finely chopped Italian parsley

Set a large skillet over medium heat.  Once it heats up fully, add the oil and butter.  Allow the oil and butter to melt and become hot.  Remove the skillet from the heat and set on a thick kitchen towel or heat resistant silicone kitchen pad.  Starting in the center of the skillet line the bottom with circles of potato slices that just barely overlap, until the skillet has one complete layer. *Salt and pepper to taste.  Then add the second layer.  Return the skillet to the heat and cover.  As soon as the bottom of the potatoes are deep brown, gently flip with a large spatula or if you are able flip the potatoes with a sauté motion.  Allow the other side to brown, uncovered.  Remove to dinner plate and top with a dollop of crème fresh, then place a smoked salmon rosette in the center of the crème fresh.  Gently place the caviar in the center of the rosette and garnish with a sprig of fresh dill.  Sprinkle a little of the chopped parsley over the potatoes and serve immediately. 

*The salt in the center of the potatoes both seasons and starts the maceration process which causes starch and moister to be released.  This helps the dish to hold together.
Sonoran Lox
Our lox is salmon that is cured for 6 days and then slow-smoked on ice for 6 hours. It's got a sweet, salty flavor with a just a hint of mesquite and apple woods. We're pretty sure this one will really impress those friends and relatives who drop by on the weekend.  And yes it's a long process, but the flavor is worth it!

2 Large Salmon Fillets

2 C Kosher salt

2 C Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 C Premium, Rum, vodka or tequila

2 TBL Mandarin Napoleon liqueur

1. Scale the fillets (this step is optional).  Remove any finger bones and cut at least six, one inch holes in the skin to allow penetration of the brine.

2. Place salmon in a baking dish, skin side down.  Mix sugar and salt well and spread over the salmon.  Drizzle rum and Mandarin Napoleon over salmon.

3. Place a second baking dish (same size as the dish the salmon is in) on top of the salmon and place approximately 6LBS of weight in the upper dish (I use the family dictionary.).

4. Set both dishes on a baking sheet to catch drippings and let cure in the refrigerator for 6 days, turning the fish every 24 hours.

5. In a two-chamber smoker, light 2-3 pieces of pure Mesquite charcoal in the firebox and start soaking alder wood chips.  In upper chamber place large plastic tub or baking dish full of ice, as far away from fire box as possible.

6. Place salmon on sheet pan and set the pan on top of the ice. Use small butter dishes, or bowls as spacers and place second sheet pan on top of first.  Do not allow top pan to touch salmon. Fill second sheet pan with ice.

7. The idea is that you allow a very thin corridor for the salmon to lie in with ice both above and below.  It is important that the salmon stays very cold.  It is also important that just a few coals are used at a time.

8. Add a few alder wood chips at a time and smoke for 4-6 hours. Check on your ice and drain off excess water.  Add more ice as necessary. Do not allow salmon to get wet.

9. When salmon has finished smoking, lightly brush with olive oil.  Slice paper thin to serve.

10. If you have access to a food sealer, seal the salmon and refrigerate.  Date sealed salmon; it will remain fresh for about 2-1/2 weeks.

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