Salmon with Eggs & Potatoes Gratin. I can’t count on a cozy snowbound Christmas morning, but I know this gratin will be on the table because it always is. Tradition.
Also tradition that I’d never made it before. Husband and daughter disappear into the kitchen late morning, roll up their sleeves and cook. They have it down. It’s been our Christmas morning brunch for the past dozen years or so. After her first few bites our daughter announced that this was it for our holiday brunch every year. And so it is.
Inspired by Sundays at Moosewood cookbook from 18 years ago, it involves local ingredients that are themselves a celebration when brought together in the casserole dish: salmon, smoked and fresh from Loki Fish, potatoes, onion, eggs, milk, cream cheese and dill. Moosewood calls it Stein Sisters’ Sunday Salmon (p.428); it’s morphed a little in our hands and we call it Salmon with Eggs & Potatoes Gratin.
From our household to yours, here’s an idea for a local meal anytime and maybe a holiday tradition. I note, and love, the irony that our Christmas morning brunch comes from the Jewish chapter in Sundays at Moosewood. Whatever your rituals, Solstice is near and bringing light again. There is joy in all of it. May your celebrations be filled with light and love.
Salmon with Eggs & Potatoes Gratin Recipe
This meal can be entirely or mostly local if attention is paid to finding local ingredients like Loki Fish, Rent’s Due Ranch or Alden Farms potatoes and onions, and Organic Valley dairy for example. Go for it! It involves preparing several components separately, setting them aside and then finally bringing them together in layers.
Preheat oven to 375º.
Ingredients & Directions: Butter the inside of a 9 x 9 inch baking pan or something equivalent. Peel 4 medium potatoes (or whatever is needed to make about 4 cups), slice thinly, season and parboil for 5 minutes/ Drain and set aside/ Thinly slice 1 or 2 medium onions and sauté slowly in butter and olive oil/ When onions are translucent and tender add ½ cup shredded smoked salmon and 2 tablespoons of fresh dill (1 tablespoon dried)/ Stir onions, smoked salmon and dill together and cook a few more minutes/ Remove from heat and place onion mix in a separate bowl/ Steam ½ pound salmon fillet – place fresh salmon in an inch or so of seasoned, simmering water, cover and cook gently until salmon flakes apart easily, 5-7 minutes/ Remove salmon, flake it apart into bowl containing the onion mixture/ Stir together 5 eggs, 1 ½ cups whole milk/ Season eggs with 1 teaspoon salt & ½ teaspoon pepper/ Measure 6 oz. cream cheese, or just use the entire 8 oz. package, and set aside.
Now it’s time to assemble: Place potatoes on the bottom of buttered casserole/ Sprinkle potatoes with dollops of cream cheese/ Spread salmon and onion mix over potatoes and cheese/ Pour eggs and milk over it all and sprinkle with a little paprika. The smokey paprika with the smoked salmon is just the thing.
Bake in a 375º oven for 30 – 40 minutes. Check periodically. This is important, to just barely cook the egg to set, but not more than that. I removed this batch from the oven when there was the tiniest liquidity in the very center of the casserole.
Ten minutes later the sample bites were creamy, steamy, salmony, cheesy, savory. A mouthful of family tradition. Num.