Tagged With: beet powder
I love making gravlax because it is such a versatile dish. The cured salmon slices can be used to make elegant hors d’oeuvres, they can be served with a few simple sides to make a nice cool lunch on a hot day, the scraps are great in an omelette for breakfast, and being “cured-but-not-cooked” makes gravlax perfect for coaxing a timid diner into trying more adventurous raw dishes. Most recipes call for fresh dill, and while that works just fine, using dill pollen creates explosive “pops” of dill flavor that are hard to imitate with other methods. Using some beet powder in the sugar mixture adds a beautiful reddish hue to the outer crust of the filet, and the transition from bright salmon orange to deep beet red allows a creative cook to arrange the slices into stunning displays. Rinsing the cure off after 24 hours instead of 48 or 72 leaves the fish raw toward the skin side. This can create the greatest contrast in colors, but the trade off is the fish won’t keep nearly as long as if it’s fully cured, and, of course, the usual caveats about consuming raw seafood apply. So this summer when you come home from your fishing trips, try a salmon recipe that just can’t be beet!
Easter can be the time for pastel-dyed confections, day-glo-hued eggs, baskets filled with cheap, plastic toys, waxy chocolate, and dapper-dressed rabbits intent on stuffing you with all of the above… unless you’re World Spice! We’re big believers in featuring the earth’s natural gifts, and with a host of spices and teas to choose from, we decided try our hand at the season’s chosen craft of dyeing eggs. What resulted were beautifully dappled eggs in a rainbow of subtle spicy hues. Below are our favorites, and a bit of our process, too!
The vibrant yellow you see, is of course, from turmeric. The pinkish color is from beet powder, which we expected to make a more intense color, but instead came out as closer to a dusty rose. Hibiscus flower tea made the periwinkle color right in the middle, but combining beet powder and hibiscus made the intense indigo up in the left-hand corner. The hibiscus was so intense that if another of our experiments didn’t work, we soaked them in the hibiscus after, and came up with all sorts of odd colors, some even close to black!
We used white vinegar for our mordant, but you can use cream of tartar, as well. Distilled water works better than tap for dyeing, too. We were less than scientific in our measurements, but a good ratio is two tablespoons of mordant per four cups of water, and about a half cup of dyestuff. Bring mordant and water to a boil with your spice or tea to dye, turn off the heat, and allow the eggs to soak for at least half an hour, but in the fridge as long as overnight for the best results.
To make designs on your spice and tea dyed eggs, you can draw on the shells with beeswax prior to dyeing, or wrap the egg in rubber bands for a fun batik effect. To increase the dappled look, marbleize your egg by adding a drop of oil to the dye liquid. If you prefer a smoother look, strain the dyeing liquid before soaking the eggs. Which ever you do, be sure not to stir or shake up the eggs when they’re soaking, or you’ll disturb the setting of the mordant, and they won’t color as deeply. Happy Easter from the World Spice team!