Honey, I shrunk the salmon

So I am working on this honey presentation for the Belmar Lab a sort of funky but cool art gallery in Lakewood. They have put together a series of 4 presentations on taste.  The topics: pork, salt, mushrooms and honey.  Chef Michael came up to me one day and said “hey how do you feel about doing a presentation on honey?” and I said sure.  What do I know about honey?  Not much, but I am always up for a challenge and especially if I learn something in the process.

2 weeks ago, I went to the presentation on Salt, which featured a paleontologist and one of the founding chefs for Cook Street Shelley Qark (might have misspelled her last name, so sorry).  The science guy was awesome and Shelley was quite entertaining as well.  At the end we spent a good amount of time waiting for chef Bijou’s dish which was basically seared tuna with various juiced vegetables (including beets, spinach and carrot). None of them were seasoned with salt which was the idea.  Individuals could season their own with the salt samples provided for the tasting.  This was great experiment for people to go through.  Salt makes a huge difference.  Every chef knows this.

Well the wait for the plates was excruciating and turned into a how do you get the audience to ask questions about salt.  Science guy answered most them but the presenters were pushing for every angle possible.

So I vowed to not fall into the same trap.  Not that I am afraid about answering questions about honey, but dead air is mighty uncomfortable for all.

My presentation is on honey.  So I have been thinking about honey for the past three weeks.  I met with the marketing person responsible for the gallery and she recruited me for producing the food as well.

Well at least I will have control over that too.  I had our marketing group put out an email out to all of our alumni to see if any would be willing to help.  Good response and I am already thanking the ones that are donating their time.  One alumnus even sent me knapweed honey from Montana.

One of the dishes that I am doing is honey tequila salmon gravlax.

The recipe is:

1 whole salmon H&G, skin on and PBO (in industry speak that means head off gutted, skin on and pin bones out)

3 cups kosher salt

1 cup honey

1 cup tequila (I used 1921 Gran Reserva, some of the best sipping tequila I have tasted)

1/2 cup cracked black pepper

2 Tblsp. Whole coriander seeds

1/4 lb. fresh cilantro

On Friday, I was prepping the salmon that arrived late from Shamrock and one of my present students walked in to give her friend Jessie a tour of the kitchen.  It turned out that she was amateur photographer.  So, I had her take pictures of the dish as it was being made.  Here are the highlights:

Initial mise en place,

Gotta to have the honey shot,

The elements of the cure all ready to be mixed together,

Applying the cure,

It’s a wrap,

Weigh it down

Let it sit for 4 days in the walk-in, being careful to turn it every day.

Next post will be what it looks like when it has shrunk or cured.


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