No, your eyes do not deceive you. These Sake Cured Salmon Blinis are topped with itty bitty seasoned quail eggs. And yes, they are marinated in the same marinade I used for the season chicken eggs in my Cold Shoyu Somen. Do you consider that lazy or thrifty? Smart or cheap? For me, it just makes good sense. Leftovers are an occasionally daunting part of my everyday life. So, when I find an opportunity to give something in my fridge new life, I take it. Particularly if it’s *this* close to sprouting fuzz, at which point I have to decide whether to throw it out or name it. Just an everyday reality when you are inexplicably capable of bonding with inanimate objects. But anyway…
I know there are many bloggers and food companies out there designed to help the busy feed themselves efficiently on a daily basis. These companies and creators dole out they’re helpful food prep hints in the form of weekly meal plans. Perhaps, meal plans fill you with a beautiful sense of order. A beacon of blissfully organized hope in a sea of chaos. And you know what? That’s super cool. I can totally see why you would want something like that in your life. But I always find weekly meal-plans overwhelming. Like, hive-inducing overwhelming.
Meal plans always seem to generate so much food. I realize this is a bonus if you have soccer-playing-quadruplets in the house. But when you’re a family of two, an excess of food is not a desirable situation. Now, stir in a crushing amount of guilt surrounding food waste and you have a powder keg of mental angst bordering on anguish. You think I am exaggerating but I am not.
Both my bf and I were extremely close to grandparents who had dealt with a fair amount of scarcity in their lives. I have very clear memories of my grandmother freezing leftover pea soup in leftover ice cream containers, which okay, maybe not the best plan, given what we know about plastics. But at the time it was good common sense. Growing up with a thrifty grandparent really sticks with you. The waste guilt is real and it is savage.
So, if you’re cooking this blog in order, which I’m sure none of you are because that would result in a *very* strange sequence of meals, you can use the marinade from my last post to make the seasoned eggs for these Sake Cured Salmon Blinis. So, with that out of the way and my pride still firmly intact in spite of my thriftiness, let’s talk about what really matters: Sake Cured Salmon.
I’ve always been a fan of charcuterie. A joyful spectator surveying the vast and complex world of cured meats, tangy pickles and preserves. One of the things I adore about charcuterie is how unifying it is. I mean, I realize charcuterie is a French word and when many of us in North America think of meat and cheese boards, we think of French terrines and Italian cured meat. But preserving is prevalent in every one of the world’s cuisines. Every culture has their own pickles, cured meats, and aged products. If you really think about it, it wouldn’t be a stretch to create regionally specific charcuterie platters. Fermentation and preservation are just further proof that we have more in common than not. And you know what? That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Yes, cured things give me the warm and fuzzies.
But as much as I love charcuterie, I am decidedly an outsider in that world. And I haven’t been easy with my status. In true Ariel fashion, I want to be where the sausage makers are. That’s how that goes, right? But charcuterie, quite frankly, scared the hell out of me. And if I’m being honest, it still does. Foodborne illness is a scary side-effect of charcuterie gone wrong. Thus far I’ve been too chicken shit to try any excessive aging techniques because botulism is real. Man, this is a delicious post. Mmmm! Botulism! Hope you’re hungry?!
Okay, so I may not be ready to take on the likes of soppressata. But I figured I could try my hand at simple brines and salt cures. And while I’ve mostly had success with my charcuterie experiments, I have to say I’m humbled. Curing fish and meat is no joke, you really can’t taste as you go. So, needless to say, this Sake Cured Salmon took a few kicks at the can to get right. But now I can honestly say, you’ve never quite tasted gravlax like this. Yes, that’s right, I used the same method people use to make gravlax, but with decidedly Asian ingredients. The first bite will be confusing. The second will be addictive.
The other components of these darling Sake Cured Salmon Blinis are just as deliciously confusing as the salmon. With the exception of the creme fraiche, none of these items have any business being apart of a blini. The quail eggs are rocking a Japanese palette of sake, soy, and mirin. And the Scallion Silver Dollar Pancakes are equal parts dim sum and American buttermilk pancakes. But when you bite into one of these Sake Cured Salmon Blinis it all makes a weird kind of sense. Sure, the format is Russian and the flavors are as much at home at a country club luncheon as they would be at greasy spoon or izakaya, but they work. In a way, it’s kind of beautiful… if you want to be pretentious about it.
So, that’s the scoop on these wonderfully bizarre Sake Cured Salmon Blinis. Serve them up at your next brunch and brag endlessly about the fish you cured with your own two hands.
Sake Cured Salmon Blinis with Scallion Silver Dollar Pancakes & Seasoned Quail eggs
- 1 batch Sake Cured Salmon see below, slice very thin
- 1 batch Seasoned Quail Eggs see below, halved
- 1 batch Scallion Silver Dollar Pancakes see below
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- Scallions for sprinkling
Sake Cured Salmon
- 1 skin-on salmon fillet
- 1/2 cup demerara sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 1-inch knob ginger, grated
- 1/4 cup sake
- 16-17 Thai Basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon red peppercorns
Seasoned Quail Eggs
- 16 quail eggs
- 1/2 cup sake
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Scallion Silver Dollar Pancakes
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4-5 scallions finely chopped
For the Salmon
- Pat the salmon dry with paper towels and set aside.
- In a small bowl stir to combine the salt, sugars, ginger and lime until the mixture resembles wet sand. Lay half of the mixture in the bottom a deep vessel large enough to accommodate the salmon. Flatten to form an even layer.
- Brush both sides of the salmon liberally with the sake. Place the salmon on top of the salt mixture and drizzle with any remaining sake. Arrange the Thai basil leaves evenly on the surface of the salmon and cover with the remaining salt mixture.
- Scatter the coriander seeds and peppercorns over top and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
- Place an 8 pound weight on top of the salmon. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed across the salmon.
- Place the salmon in the fridge and let cure for 48 hours or until firm to the touch. Rinse the salmon and pat dry. Slice very thin and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Quail Eggs
- Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and lower the quail eggs in. Cook for 2 1/2 minutes.
- Transfer the eggs to an ice bath and let sit for 15 minutes.
- While the eggs are cooling, whisk the soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar together in a deep bowl. Whisk until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Peel the cooled eggs and add them to the soy mixture. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge. Leave the eggs to marinade for 3 hours.
- Remove the eggs from the marinade and cut them in half. Store the eggs tightly wrapped in the fridge until ready to serve.
For the Pancakes
- Sift the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together into a large bowl. Form a well in the center.
- Pour the buttermilk into a measuring cup with a spout. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the center of the well. Do the same with the butter.
- Using a large spoon, stir until a lumpy batter forms. Throw in the scallions and stir until evenly incorporated.
- Heat a large cast iron griddle over medium heat. Add coconut oil. Once the oil is shimmering, spoon 1 tablespoon of the batter onto the griddle. Repeat until the griddle is full. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Cook for a few more minutes or until both sides are golden brown. Repeat until all the batter has been cooked.
- Take a scallion pancake and place a dollop of creme fraiche on top. Top the creme fraiche with a sheet of cured salmon and half a seasoned quail egg. Garnish with scallions and serve immediately on a platter.