Gravlax and breakfast biscuits

By David Robertson
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This recipe is about the butter in the biscuit, which makes it light and flaky and pairs so well with the saltiness of the salmon. But take note: gravlax needs two days’ prep, so this is not a last-minute dish. 

SERVES
8
 TO
10

Ingredients

Gravlax:

  • 1 (1.4 kilogram) sockeye salmon fillet, skin on and pin bones removed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 6 star anise
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Bunch of dill, coarsely chopped
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

Biscuits:

  • 5-2/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for the egg wash
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-1/2 cup (5 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen
  • 2 cups buttermilk, plus extra if needed (divided)
  • 2 egg yolks

Lemon mascarpone:

  • 2 cups mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

Assembly:

  • 1/4 cup lemon mascarpone (see here)
  • 4 biscuits (see here), halved
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, quartered and sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 12 slices gravlax (see here)
  • 4 eggs, cooked sunny-side upkosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

Directions

Gravlax:

  1. Pat salmon fillet with paper towel to remove moisture.
  2. In a frying pan, combine coriander seeds, fennel seeds and star anise and toast over medium-high heat for one minute. (Careful not to burn.) Set aside to cool, then use a mortar and pestle to coarsely crush the spices.
  3. In a small bowl, combine spices, salt, sugar, dill and lemon and lime zests and mix thoroughly.
  4. Line a roasting pan with a large piece of plastic wrap (enough to overlap the salmon). Place a quarter of the curing mixture on the bottom and spread out loosely. Place fillet, skin-side down, onto the curing mixture, then pour remaining mixture over fillet and evenly spread out until salmon is completely covered. Wrap plastic wrap tightly around the fish. Place another roasting pan on top and add 2.3 kilograms of weights to it, to press the salmon while curing. Refrigerate for 48 hours.
  5. Lightly rinse curing mixture off the salmon under cold running water. Pat dry and thinly slice on an angle. Set aside. (This makes enough for eight to ten servings, but leftover cured salmon can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for three weeks or frozen for six weeks. If frozen, defrost it overnight and slice the next day.)

Biscuits:

  1. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  2. In a food processor with a S-shaped blade attachment, pulse the flour mixture and butter in batches until the butter cubes are a quarter their original size. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  3. Pour in buttermilk and mix well, until dough looks shaggy and barely holds together. (Add more buttermilk if needed.) Do not knead the dough—the larger the butter piece, the flakier the biscuits will be.
  4. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a rectangular shape. Roll dough to a six millimeter thickness. Fold ends to the centre, then fold in half like a book. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Repeat procedure three times. (The pastry must rest to relax gluten and prevent dough from shrinking too much.)
  5. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Roll the dough out to 15 x 46 centimeters. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into twelve eight-centimeter squares. (Avoid any sawing or circular motions, as they may destroy the layers you’ve been working hard to create.)
  7. In a small bowl, combine egg yolks, a pinch of salt, and two tablespoons water. Mix, then strain to remove the chalaza. Put biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Put the biscuits in the oven, reduce the temperature to 375ºF and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 195ºF.

Lemon mascarpone:

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Set aside. (Makes two cups.)

Assembly:

  1. Spread lemon mascarpone on the cut sides of each biscuit. Add a few slices of tomato and avocado to the bottom half of each biscuit. Layer three slices of gravlax and a sunny-side up egg on top. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chives. Top with the other biscuit half and enjoy warm!

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