French Fridays with Dorie – Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar

I am a lucky girl.  Today I am featuring a guest post by one of my favorite people, my college friend Adam of Balls and Pie.  A while back we were IM-ing about self-imposed meat hiatuses and his brand new stovetop smoker, and I mentioned that one of my future FFwD assignments would involve cured salmon.  I showed him Michael Ruhlman’s blog post on Dorie Greenspan’s Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar recipe, one thing led to another…  and twelve days ago I received an e-mail with a picture of  jars of salmon and potatoes.  The rest is history.  Thank you, Adam!

There a lot of things in my culinary wheelhouse – most seafood, Cajun and Creole, anything with bacon and garlic, an occasional American or Jewish standard here and there. Outside of that, I’ll give most things a try.  And then there’s French food.  I don’t know if it’s the dairy, or pastry, or just the presentation, but it generally scares the crap out of me. However, when Adriana offered me a crack at today’s entry, it was pretty easy to get behind. While it may remind some of pickled herring and potatoes, for me, it called back all the fond memories of proper lox and onions I was treated to while visiting my grandparents.

While I tend to improvise a lot in the kitchen, I did my best to follow the recipe to the letter here. I started with a fresh, oversized filet (skin on) of atlantic salmon, and trimmed down to roughly a pound, getting rid of the skin and preserving the thickest part of the filet. Then, I cut into 12 slices, covered liberally in the salt/sugar cure, and got it straight into the fridge for about 15 hrs.

The cured salmon came out pretty much as I’d expected – stiffer and less fragile, but not overly so. I set about layering the rinsed and dried slices into the jar with my diligently apportioned (10 seeds and peppercorns, per!) red onion, carrots, spices, aromatics. Not that you could tell by halfway through the second layer. I got my potatoes boiling, and similarly layered, salted and filled with oil and vinegar. Then everything went back into the fridge for 8 hours. Note: there is an intimidating amount of olive oil in this recipe.

Once I decided I’d waited long enough, I made some melba toast from a marble rye (350 F in the counter top convection oven until very firm), and plated the salmon & potatoes. The results were very pleasing; the cured salmon was not overly briny and had subtly taken up the herbs and spices. The chill and hint of acid made the fingerlings a particular treat. The stiff, almost but not quite snap of the carrots didn’t really work for me with the cured fish, potatoes, and onions – but I’m someone who only prefers carrots raw and alone All in all, a very enjoyable dish that I’ll look forward to revisiting.

A quick note: while everything still tasted great on the second day, it looked pretty sludgy, and I wouldn’t have been comfortable putting it front of guests.

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

22 Responses to “French Fridays with Dorie – Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar”

  1. August 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    wow this is a new to me…I would love to try as an appetizer looks great.

  2. August 12, 2011 at 2:16 am #

    Hmmm, we weren’t bowled over by this one but I was pleased to be able to make it even though I was on holidays! Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. August 12, 2011 at 3:03 am #

    Being a salmon lover, this is definitely a must try recipe. I am glad I did it and this appetizer will be a keeper for sure 🙂 Yours turned out great too…well done ! 🙂
    Have a nice weekend !


  4. August 12, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    So lucky to have a pinch hitter for this one! Looks great~

  5. August 12, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Loved the guest post! This is such an interesting dish and I’m trying to expand my canning repertoire so this would be just the thing!

  6. August 12, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    what a great opportunity to have a guest post! Thanks for the note about how the dish looks the next day. I’ll keep it in mind when I have a chance to make it. I used my budget for loads of berries and apricots instead of salmon. 🙂

  7. August 12, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    Fantastic guest post! Great photos!

  8. August 12, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    What a great guest post, this looks amazing! Love the photos! 🙂

  9. gaaarp
    August 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Great post! I really liked this recipe. Mine held up pretty well to eat for lunch the following day.

  10. August 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    I have very little canning experience an this really interests me. Lovely guest post.

  11. August 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    I can see that you enjoyed the jars in the frig as much as I did, Adam! Great post and welcome!

    Clever girl, Adriana! 🙂

  12. August 12, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    I loved this dish! I had to cook the fish, though 🙂

  13. August 13, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    I think it’s wonderful that you actually got another blogger friend to do this week’s recipe for you! That’s going to be my strategy one day too…LOL. Love the way this dish turned out, Adam’s a pro!

  14. August 13, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    What a great idea having a guest post for this dish. I passed on this one, because I don’t eat lox or sushi! Adam did a great job! Enjoy your weekend!

  15. nana
    August 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Thank you for the lovely birthday wishes. That is such a nice post and the photos are
    really beautiful. I thought the recipe was interesting, just did not care for raw seafood.
    However, I decided to share the rest with Tricia’s family who all love sushi and such.
    It was interesting to learn about curing, I have never attempted this before.

  16. August 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    I’ve run into a snag. My olive oil has congealed since being in the refrigerator and the two jars – not so pretty. They looked like yours when I put them in the fridge. What should I do now. Sunday, when I hoped to serve this, is less than 24 hours away and this is looking pretty nor delicious. Of course, nothing is wrong with rye bread, butter, and a green salad!

  17. Betsy
    August 14, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Nice job Adam. I loved this one. I agree about the carrots being a little odd.

  18. August 15, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    Thanks for the compliments, all – this was a fun opportunity to try something a little different. And I wasn’t about to pass up on the opportunity to collaborate with my good friend Adriana!

    Mary – sorry I missed you; if you’re still holding on to it – I’d try leaving it at room temperature for bit to see if gets better. I noticed something similar on the second day. I was somewhat less than diligent cleaning it up – and when things had warmed up, it looked better.

  19. August 15, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Those are some great pickling jars & plates! I omitted the carrots, just because I didn’t have them, and sounds like that may have been a good thing 🙂

  20. August 16, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    This is a great one for a guest post!
    Nice photos.

  21. August 27, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    I was out of state for this one. And that’s probably good. It is my 1st skipped recipe and I can’t get into this not-cooked fish. However, we adopted to older children from a Russian orphanage and one of them craved cured fish. I will let her have a try at this…as my guest poster…if she would like to give it a go. Nice post, but I’m a little mental about this one.

  22. January 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    I took my extra salmon and cooked it into a pasta, and it was really tasty! I even included the potatoes as a side which was a nice treat!

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