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French Fridays with Dorie: Salmon and potatoes in a jar

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe (Salmon and potatoes in a jar, pp 182-184) might have been a challenge for me, but for the fact that I was able to make it in France and serve it to two people who love salmon (unlike me!).  I was excited to make this because I am kind of obsessed with the idea of food in jars (I know, I know, about a year too late!) and en plus, a few days before I was due to make it, I found adorable, teeny, tiny pots that I knew would be perfect for the potatoes at least…

Cathy who has been travelling around Alsace and Brittany with us joined me in Paris for a day before we headed out and we just could not resist these lovely fromage blanc pots. We packed them up and brought them to Colmar with us and planned the salmon and potatoes in a jar meal for a day when we knew we would just need a light meal.  This required some planning because the salmon cures in salt and sugar for at least 12 hours…

I don’t have much experience with curing salmon, given that I don’t eat it but I did think the amount of sugar and salt looked a little off (2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar for 1 pound of salmon – we used these quantities for half the amount of salmon and it still did not look enough – confirmed by Neil who has cured his own salmon a few times before).  In any case, after 24 hours in the fridge (Dorie recommends up to 18 but that just didn’t work with our schedule).  Next time if I were to make this, I would leave the curing part in Neil’s hands and let him cure it as he knows how..

The potatoes were less problematic, fairly straightforward, in fact (apart from the fact that I didn’t really have a proper cutting knife and they sliced somewhat unevenly – were I to serve this to guests and not as a “picnic” style, I would want to make sure I used a decent knife to make it look prettier ;)

Packaged up in their little jars, both the salmon and potatoes in oil did look rather fetching…

Note that there is a rather large amount of olive oil in this recipe and I have seen a few people freaked out by this. But the point is, you don’t EAT the oil, it’s there to preserve the food and give it flavour.  Also, though we didn’t, you could totally reuse the leftover oil for cooking or frying and it would lend a rather lovely flavour to whatever you are making.

I don’t have any pretty pictures of the finished, plated dish because, well I am on holidays and it was part of a “picnic style” meal. Cathy, Neil and I all decided that it didn’t really need plating – we simply served both potatoes and salmon in jars as is – the plating IS the pot.  As Cathy pointed out, the pleasure of eating this dish is in the digging around in the pot and discovering what’s in there…

The taste? The potatoes were great but you can’t really go wrong there.  The salmon? It was deemed “all right” by both my taste testers but at the end of the day, “just salmon”.  So definitely easy on the eye in their lovely little pots but just “ok” in terms of taste.

What truly made this dish for us was the fact that we were eating it on a lovely balcony overlooking gorgeous fruit trees on a hot evening in Colmar, Alsace.  It totally worked in that setting. Not sure how it might go on a dreary winter’s day in Toronto if you see what I mean… ;)

Would we make it again? Well the potatoes, definitely. They are a lovely way to present a different type of potato salad and would be perfect for a picnic. The salmon? Probably not. It seemed like an inordinate amount of work for something that lacked the “wow” factor.  I am glad I tried this though – it’s always good to learn new techniques in the kitchen.

Want to join French Fridays with Dorie? Join here.

French Fridays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs, rather, we prefer if you purchase Around My French Table for yourselves (trust me, you definitely want this book!) which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.

Keep up with me this summer through my Summer 2011 Flickr set. I will be updating this with day to day pictures (read: not all food photos!) fairly regularly so head on over there if you are interested. You never know what or who you might see there, like, you know… Dorie….

** Did you enter my “Mad about Macarons” cookbook giveaway (open to everyone, eveywhere)?  Simply leave a comment on this post (there’s also details on the macaron class I will be teaching in Toronto on September 30th).

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55 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Salmon and potatoes in a jar

  1. Maya August 12, 2011 at 03:30 #

    Mardi, I totally applaud you for attempting this while on holiday and finding the perfect jars for them too! Plus, you don’t even EAT salmon, how do you even find the motivation? I would’ve given up in resignation and enjoyed something else under that balcony overlooking fruit trees in Colmar ;-). I’m definitely learning a thing or two from you!

  2. one expat's life August 12, 2011 at 04:22 #

    Oooh, I LOVE your jars, those are just the perfect presentation. I looked for some nicer ones, but in the end just ended up using some old yogurt jars. Colmar is lovely, and right next to one of my favorite Alsatian villages, Eguisheim, hope you have time to make it over there.

  3. Karen @ Lavender and Lovage August 12, 2011 at 05:52 #

    I love things in jars ~ I have a chicken and artichoke recipe in a jar that is French too!
    This looks amazing, as us your blog…..lovely to have discovered you!
    Karen
    PS: I am in the Charente Maritime ~ pop in if you get to visit this area!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 24, 2011 at 10:28 #

      Oh chicken and artichoke sounds wonderful. Alas, our journey did not bring us to Charente Maritime – another time perhaps?

  4. Liz August 12, 2011 at 07:35 #

    Your jars are definitely fetching as are your beautiful photos! Sorry it wasn’t more of a hit~

  5. Eileen August 12, 2011 at 09:12 #

    Love your jars, love your location, love your resolve to complete this recipe, even though you’re on vacation! You win the commitment award this week. lol Your jars look awfully pretty in contrast against all that green! My supermarket had lousy fish, so I chickened out and did the roasted version, which failed miserably.

  6. Elin August 12, 2011 at 09:32 #

    Love the cute jars..after seeing yours I would want to get some smaller jars . They are great as gift jar filled with this salmon appetizer. I love salmon in any form…raw as in sashimi, cured salmon in olive oil or baked en papillote…it will still be good for me :) The potato in jar was good too! Love all the photos here!

  7. Curt August 12, 2011 at 10:32 #

    Pretty cool idea with the jars. I’m glad you mentioned the salmon was only so-so. I would try the potatoes though.

    For me, salmon is good just about any way it’s prepared, but I have a lot of different ways of cooking salmon. Have you ever grilled it inside of banana leaves? The banana leaves impart a very earthy flavor.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 24, 2011 at 10:26 #

      Since I don’t eat salmon, that doesn’t so much appeal to me but my Mr Neil might like that.

  8. Kelly August 12, 2011 at 10:51 #

    This looks fantastic, love this! :)

  9. Claire August 12, 2011 at 11:31 #

    cool idea! love the jars

  10. Viviane Bauquet Farre August 12, 2011 at 12:01 #

    Mardi, thanks for sharing such a wonderful post. Nothing like food in jars for a picnic on the go or gifting. Your photography is wonderful and the colors of the dish are stunning.

  11. Steph I August 12, 2011 at 15:48 #

    Mardi, well done. Looks so lovely. My potatoes were not good…not sure why. Hubby thought the salmon was good. So nice to be able to enjoy this dish in Colmar!

  12. Kate@Diethood August 12, 2011 at 16:15 #

    Your photos are ah-mazing!! The dish looks beyond gorgeous!
    I roasted the salmon … I couldn’t eat it the other way. :)

  13. Alice August 12, 2011 at 20:08 #

    Your pictures are beautiful! The cure for the salmon works really well, just give it a try! I’m sure you will like it on the second go-around, but you had a picnic! How lovely!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 24, 2011 at 10:25 #

      Well the cure for the salmon as per the recipe did not work really well. Next time if I made these, I would use the cure from “Charcuterie”.

  14. Christine August 13, 2011 at 00:19 #

    Great post. Love the photos.

  15. maggie may August 13, 2011 at 01:47 #

    well it made for a beautiful post!

  16. Adriana August 13, 2011 at 06:33 #

    I love the casual vibe of the meal – perfectly captured in the pictures! What a gorgeous day.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 24, 2011 at 10:23 #

      Thanks so much – plating certainly left a lot to be desired but that kind of was not the point..

  17. Nana August 13, 2011 at 10:20 #

    Thank you for the lovely birthday wishes. 80 years is not too
    bad nowadays. Your trip to France sounds wonderful, I just
    bookmarked it to review some of the places that you mention.
    Tricia and I are leaving for Paris and other French areas
    in mid-September and we are so excited. Your recipe
    looks wonderful and I love the little jars. Enjoy your travels.

  18. Jessica August 13, 2011 at 14:05 #

    This is beautiful!!! I can’t wait to try it! I bought a whole salmon today and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I can see why you are obsessed with food in jars, it’s beautiful and addicting!!

  19. kitchenarian August 13, 2011 at 14:20 #

    Such a dedicated Dorista! Your jars are lovely and I know the view was breath-taking.

  20. Jen @ keepitsimplefoods August 13, 2011 at 16:24 #

    This recipe sounds fabulous and so flavorful. I can’t wait to try it.

  21. sidiqa August 13, 2011 at 17:23 #

    I love it- so creative and looks absolutely delicious.

  22. Paula August 13, 2011 at 23:18 #

    My *fish of all kinds* loving husband would really enjoy these, especially that they are in the jars, just pop open and stick in a fork!

  23. Helene August 14, 2011 at 09:57 #

    Love the idea for my camping trips. Never made it. I think I would start to try the potatoes. They look really yummy.

  24. penny aka jeroxie August 15, 2011 at 06:57 #

    i like this idea. thinking about xmas pressies now :)

  25. Mr. Neil August 15, 2011 at 15:33 #

    I consider vacations a largely “internet-free zone”, so am only reading this now. Alas, a bit late to defend myself.

    I’m not sure I said “just salmon” – or at least did not mean to imply “eigh”. Salmon is yummy…but this wasn’t a standout, for me anyway. It actually seemed to take away slightly from the vibrant fish. I would have preferred a dry cure and no soaked in oil, perhaps.

    But I nibbled quite happily…avec a crisp Alsace Riesling, bien sur!

  26. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction August 15, 2011 at 22:51 #

    This makes me wish I liked salmon… It looks absolutely beautiful!

  27. Cher August 16, 2011 at 12:04 #

    This one did look pretty, but I think it was a tough one to swallow (no pun intended) for many of us…

  28. Apronthyme August 18, 2011 at 22:37 #

    Nice blog, great photos, fantastic setting! I agree though, no wow from us either.

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