Tag Archives: brunch

Brioche & Gravlax

13 Dec

Over the weekend I played around making Brioche de Nanterre and gravlax. I had only made brioche once a while ago, but it turned out fairly well this second time. As for the gravlax, I make it often because it so simple and delicious. Brioche is really nothing more than a leavened bread with eggs and half the amount of flour in butter. The result is quite obviously a rich and buttery bread that is perfect for breakfast.

I started making the brioche by weighing all the ingredients and proofing the yeast in milk. Soon after I mixed the ingredients and worked the butter into the dough–a process that requires a lot of patience.

Ingredients and Mixing Well

Once my dough was worked I left it to proof in a warm and humid area. In hindsight the dough could have used a bit more kneading, but there’s always a third time for everything I suppose.

Dough ready for proofing

While the dough was resting, i started on the Gravlax. Gravlax is the Scandinavian method of curing salmon (or any fatty fish). Essentially the filet is covered with salt, sugar, and herbs and refrigerated. Overnight the salmon will let go of all the water effectively curing it and firming it up.

Slicing the already cured salmon

Once the dough had rested overnight, shaped it and placed into a baking pan. There are numerous ways to shape brioche, the most famous being the brioche a tete. Here I chose the Nanterre style in which the dough is cut just before baking so it yields separable individual sized buns.

Buttery brioche

Once the brioche was ready, I sliced it and plated it with some red onions, hard boiled egg, parsley, capers, chives, paprika, and obviously the gravlax.

Open face mini sandwich!
Bird’s eye view of the goodies

Here is the recipe for the brioche and gravlax.

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Breakfast Reconstructed

28 Nov

Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day. In fact,”breakfast for dinner” nights at the cafeteria during my undergraduate days were the few times that I looked forward to using my meal plan.  Although North American breakfast can include a wide range of elements, the egg is generally the central feature in savory morning dishes. Most breakfast joints tend to focus on omelets and  fried eggs. However, the slightly more ambitious morning chef always takes a stab at poached eggs. Although Eggs Benedict is by and large the most common poached egg feature in breakfast menus, it is by no means the most impressive. The simple combination of bread, ham, poached egg, and hollandaise is delicious, but lacking in creativity and layered flavor. Here I have attempted reinvent the dish by adding some variations to the classic recipe. Although endless variations can improve the dish, I picked  four distinct elements to “spice” up the dish: paprika, thyme, rosemary, and mustard.

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Some of the ingredients in this variation of the classic recipe: Paprika, White Pepper, Dijon Mustard, Thyme, Rosemary, and Fleur de Sel

Pairing ingredients is often a key part of any culinary creation. Here I stuck to fairly conservative elements that work well together. The real challenge laid in how to best deliver these flavors so that the final dish would be layered, aesthetically pleasing, and an improvement on the classic dish.

Closeup of the final arrangement

I decided to use the thyme and rosemary on two levels. First as a minor garnish, and secondly to infuse the clarified butter for the hollandaise. The garnish involved nothing more than deep frying the twigs in olive oil and adding them to the dish as a final step. The infusion on the other hand was done by cooking the clarified butter with the herbs for a few minutes. Additionally, once the sauce was emulsified I added extra mustard to add an extra layer of flavor to the hollandaise and herbs. As for the paprika, I added it to the same oil I had used to fry the garnishes. Once it started bubbling, I passed it through a coffee filter and ended up with a fragrant deep red oil that I spooned over the poached egg.

 

Cooked to perfection

The egg itself was cooked so that the yolk would be slightly runny, but not so much that it would run onto the plate once the egg was cut.

Here is the recipe. Yum!