Pernod Gravlax

Food Styling - Pernod Gravlax

I’ve been making this recipe for a long time and it never gets old.  In the beginning, it was for a project that I did for Pernod Ricard, creating savory recipes using their spirit to entice the American public to buy and cook with Pernod, as opposed to drinking it.  Apparently booze hounds stateside had never really acquired a taste for pastis, at least in beverage form.  Too bad because the Milk of Provence (1 part pastis, 5 parts water over ice) is a particularly great drink to waste away a hot summer day.

In recent years this recipe comes out on Christmas day at my in-laws for our Swedish/Midwestern/Venezuelan/Miamian and Truly American Mash Up Buffet.  Swedish Meatballs+Deviled Eggs+Pan de Jamón+Homemade Pretzels+Gravlax+Stone Crab+Chocolate Stout Cake+Coquito+Key Lime Pie+Jello+Beer+10 other rotating dishes=AWESOME.  I love how versatile making a cold cured dish like this is and how it can seemingly fit into any occasion: brunch with cream cheese, bagels and eggs; lunch with black bread, mustard sauce and watercress; cocktail hour with blini, creme fraîche and caviar; dinner with boiled potatoes, cold beet salad and horseradish cream.  Need I go on?  The best part also is that Gravlax can live in your refrigerator for a few weeks for continual noshing pleasures. Pair with my Red-Headed Mary to take the whole shebang completely over the top.  Skål!


3/4 cup sea salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp white peppercorns

1 tbsp fennel seed

1 tbsp coriander seed

2 bunches dill, roughly chopped

1 head fennel; bulb thinly sliced, fronds and stems reserved

1, 2-lb. filet of salmon, skin-on and deboned

¼ cup Pernod


In a bowl, mix together the salt and sugars.  With a mortar and pestle, bash up the peppercorns, fennel and coriander seeds and add to the salt mixture.  Mix in the dill.

Line a baking dish with a few layers of plastic wrap, long enough to wrap around the filet of salmon.  Add half of the salt/spice/dill mixture along with half of the fennel fronds on top of the plastic wrap.  Put the salmon on top of this mixture.  Top the salmon with the remaining salt mix and fennel.  Pour the Pernod over the top of the fish and wrap tightly.  Place another baking dish on top of the fish to weigh it down and put in the refrigerator for 36-48 hours.

After the salmon has cured, remove from the plastic wrap and rinse off the seasoning.  Slice the gravlax into thin strips and serve with any number of condiments, such as bagels, black bread, crackers, cream cheese or mustard.  Gravlax will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks wrapped tightly.



Simple Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart

This insanely easy tart is a perfect last-minute,HOLY CRAP-PEOPLE ARE COMING OVER-I NEED A DESSERT PRONTO-dessert! Do yourself a favor and keep a package of store-bought puff pastry in your freezer at all times.  It will come in handy for moments like this and when you’ve got a buttload of veggies that are about to go bad, you can make a quick pot pie with very little effort.  I learned to make puff pastry or as the French say, pâte feuilletée, at the former French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center) and while there is no comparing delicious homemade puff with Pepperidge Farm, I don’t always have time to be wacking a solid pound of butter into flour and folding it a thousand times.  You can use any fruit you’d like on this tart, cook ’em or throw them on juicy and raw, it’s all good in the hood.  This would be pretty and delicious as part of a brunch buffet too.  If you’re gonna go that way, make one of my mimosa variations, My Darling Clementhyme for buzzy good times.

Serves 6


1 pkg puff pasty, thawed

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp sugar

1 pkg cream cheese, softened

½ cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

2 pints blueberries

1 lemon, juice and zest


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a long rectangle, about 10×14.  Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Score a 1” border around the outside of the pastry being careful not to cut all the way through.  Brush the border with egg and sprinkle it with half of the sugar.  Bake until it puffs up and is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the blueberries, lemon juice and zest and the remaining sugar in a small pot.  Cook over medium heat just to break down the blueberries slightly and for the sugar to melt, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool.

While the blueberries and pastry are both cooking, mix together the cream cheese, heavy cream, vanilla.  Sift in the confectioner’s sugar and set aside.

When the puff pastry is done, remove from the oven and immediately rescore around the edge and lightly press down the inside of the pastry to flatten it.  Allow it to cool.

To assemble the pastry, spread the cream cheese onto the baked tart within the border and top with the blueberries. Dust with powdered sugar et voila!