Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…

Recipe: How to Make Your Own Citrus Cured #Salmon

Hello there, friends!

I know, I know.
It's been a while.

My job as a high school 
Culinary Arts
instructor has kept me
very busy.
Best Job Ever!

But I do missing sharing
my recipes and
creative endeavors here.

Yesterday I branched out from teaching high school students and taught a 5-hour Holiday Appetizer Class in my classroom through our local Adult School.  I'm happy to announce that over the next two weeks, I'll be sharing some of my favorite recipes!

I'm starting with one of my all-time favorite recipes:  Citrus Cured Salmon.  I love smoked salmon, lox and gravlax, but it' so expensive.  Last year I started experimenting with making my own house-cured salmon.  I started with a recipe from Martha Stewart by way of Michael Ruhlman.  Over time I've adapted the recipe and have come up with a formula that comes out amazing every time.

This cured salmon takes just two days to complete and is a million times better than the store bought stuff.  You end up with a lot of salmon, so you'll pretty much be set for the rest of the holidays.  It's great on bagels, benedicts, and canapés (pictured below).


Citrus Cured Salmon

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of one large orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of one lime
  • 2 Tablespoons dried dill
  • One 2-pound skin-on salmon fillet, pin bones removed and very thin pieces of flesh trimmed
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill

Step 1:  In a small bowl, stir together first 6 ingredients.

Step 2: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (a piece large enough to extend beyond both ends of the salmon by 6”.)  Line the foil with a sheet of parchment the same length.

Step 3: Spread 1/3 of the salt mixture along the center of the parchment (roughly in the shape of your piece of salmon).  Set salmon on top of the bed of salt.

Step 4:  Sprinkle remaining salt evenly over the salmon.

Step 5:  Fold parchment up over the salmon. Then fold up foil to make a tight packet.

Step 6:  Set a pan or large casserole dish on top of salmon; top with cans or bricks to weight down. Transfer to refrigerator; refrigerate for 24-48 hours. 

Step 7:  Unwrap salmon and remove it from salt mixture. Rinse salmon and pat dry using paper towels. Set salmon on a rack set inside a baking sheet, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon dried dill and refrigerate, uncovered 8 to 24 hours more.  Slice thinly and serve.  Wrap finished salmon tightly in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

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