I'm just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means that I'm alive.
~ Brene Brown
There's a certain amount of excitement and dread experienced in the French Fridays with Dorie camp in connection with this week's recipe - Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar (well two jars, actually). The feeling for me was akin to the thrill of jumping off a bridge knowing full well that the only thing that determines whether you experience the exhilaration of an upwards tug or plunge down to a massive splat on the ground is that elastic cord attached to your body. Okay, perhaps that bungy jumping analogy is more drama than is called for but to be honest, I've never cured anything before, let alone raw fish, so I was really looking forward to the challenge!
My first time - I'm no longer a 'savory-food-in-a-jar' virgin!
The process itself was fairly easy. The raw salmon needed to be cured with salt and sugar overnight and then preserved with spices under a thick blanket of olive oil. I used nearly a whole 1 litre bottle of oil, which was a touch scary. I crossed my fingers and hoped the salmon would be cured enough so that nothing untoward would happen when we ate it. Before anyone took a bite of the salmon two days later, a little, innocent one in my home endearingly posed this question, "We're not going to die, are we?". No, well since I'm writing this post the following day... apparently we had not.
Okay, now that I've taken the plunge (LOL), I must say that I quite enjoyed the whole process of doing this. My only changes to the salmon jar was to substitute the thyme with basil and oregano and left the other spices as per Dorie's recipe. I also added garlic to both jars because I like the taste and also thought it could work twofold by killing off any remaining bugs in the fish that might have survived the curing process. Well, you can never be too careful :-). My carrots were 'pimped' into pretty flower shapes but I assure you there was no wastage. I threw the negative cut-outs of the carrots into the jar as well.
For the potatoes jar, I decided to change the flavors by adding some fresh curry leaves and cumin in addition to the coriander and black peppercorns. I then threw in some red radishes and physalis from my garden as I wanted to fill the spaces in between the potatoes. I mean, why waste using all that olive oil on just a few potatoes, right?
Spices for the potatoes
The exotic, Indian flavors of the potatoes went very well with the Italian flavors of the salmon. I'm quite pleased that after their initial wariness, everyone at home dug into this appetizer with more enthusiasm than I'd expected. You just never know from one week to the next whether the FFWD recipes will be a hit or miss in the house, and luckily this time, I didn't land splat on my face.
It looks like I have more pictures than I have words for this post, so just enjoy these images from this point on. Oh, by the way, we do not give out Dorie's Around My French Table recipes in our posts but you can view a published version of this one online here.
Salmon and carrots with basil and oregano
Potatoes, radishes and physalis with cumin and curry leaves
All ready to eat!
Finally, I have a special treat for you, since it's Friday. I already mentioned in my last post about my love for TED talks and today I want to share with you a presentation by Brene Brown that I've seen over 20 times and it still strikes a cord deep inside me, even now. It's probably because I used to be like her, measuring stick and all, but at some point in my life (I'll tell you all about it sometime later), I realized, it's okay. I am enough.