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Recipe: Chef Karen Nicolas’ Beet Cured Salmon Gravlax with Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

Karen Nicolas, executive chef at Todd Gray’s Equinox, is one of only a handful of lucky toques to be named among Food & Wine magazine’s 2012 Best New Chefs in America. Chef Nicolas recently sailed on Amsterdam as part of the Culinary Arts Centers program and gave a couple of exciting and mouth-watering demonstrations.

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GRAVLAX:

Ingredients:

1 full length salmon fillet, skin on and deboned
1 c sea salt
1 c brown sugar
Grated zest of 2 oranges
1/3 c grated fresh horseradish
2 small red beets, washed thoroughly
1 large bunch of dill, roughly chopped

¼ c aquavit

Instructions:

Cut the salmon in half width wise to result in two equal lengths.
In a bowl, mix all of the other ingredients for the salmon together to make the cure.
Stretch two large sheets of cling film over a work surface and spoon over some of the cure.
Lay one of the fillets, skin side down, on the cure, then pack over most of the cure, and sandwich with the remaining fillet, skin side up.
Top with the last of the cure and wrap both fillets together tightly with lots of cling film.
Place in a container with sides, like a large roasting tray, put a smaller tray on top and weigh it down. Leave in the fridge for 72 hours.
Don’t be alarmed by the amount of liquid that leaks out, this is normal. Once a day, pour away the liquid, turn the salmon and re-apply the weights.
Wash off the cure and pat dry with paper towels
Brush the salmon filets with the aquavit
Allow to air dry at least another 3-4 hours before serving

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GOAT CHEESE PANNA COTTA:

Ingredients:

1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
½ c milk
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, softened

Instructions:

Bring the cream, milk, sugar to a gentle boil.
Turn off the heat and add the gelatin, stirring until dissolved.
Add the goat cheese and stir until smooth. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve.
Divide the mixture among 4-6 ramekins placed on a half sheet pan or cookie sheet.
Refrigerate until set, approximately 3 to 5 hours.

Garnishes:
Shaved asparagus from 1 jumbo asparagus pieces
8 small orange segments
1 tbsp picked dill sprigs
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, shaved thin

Holland America Line is a proud partner of Food & Wine magazine on the Culinary Arts Center program.

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