A few days ago, Second Bar & Kitchen tweeted a photo of one of their new menu items: Smoked salmon hush puppies, preserved lemon with green peppercorn tartar sauce. Though their intention was most likely for me to come to the restaurant and pay for their food, I knew that there was a batch of preserved lemon in my fridge that had just finished curing, so my first thought was, "I'm making that right now." After a brief trip to the market to pick up a few ingredients, I was back in the kitchen in no time.
Just to be clear, this is by no means Second Bar & Kitchen's recipe, just my attempt to create a dish based on their description.
Smoked salmon and preserved lemon hush puppies with green peppercorn tartar sauce
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
½ cup whole milk
⅓ pound smoked salmon, cut to ¼" dice
2 petals preserved lemon, flesh and pith removed, briefly blanched, then minced
Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Whisk the sugar, milk and egg together in a separate bowl, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir just until the mixture comes together, do not over-mix. Fold in the preserved lemon and the smoked salmon.
In a dutch oven or other large, deep pot, heat the vegetable oil to 365-375 degrees. Make sure the oil is deep enough to deep fry, but the oil should not fill more than ⅓ of the pot.
Using two spoons, drop golf ball sized dollops of batter into the hot oil, about six to eight at a time. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes total, or until completely golden brown. Flip the hush puppies halfway through, if they don't flip themselves. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper as soon as then come out of the hot oil.
1 cup mayo
3 tablespoons minced green peppercorns
½ cup minced cornichons
Juice of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon shichimi togarashi
Salt and freshly cracked green peppercorn, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir to combine and season to taste. I used two kinds of green peppercorn in this recipe. The minced green peppercorns were peppercorns that were jarred and packed in water. I found them next to the jarred capers in the grocery store. I also used freshly cracked green peppercorn to season the sauce.
Thought these came out pretty good, for my first crack at them. The preserved lemon brought a nice tartness to the hush puppies, and is a natural pairing with smoked salmon. That said, I did feel the smoked salmon got a little lost in the batter. There was plenty in every bite, but the heavy flavor of the cornmeal overpowered it a bit. I think a slightly lighter batter, using more flour and less cornmeal might work better in this application.
The tartar sauce was spot on though. It also made a great spread for my fried cod sandwich. The peppercorns gave a nice subtle crunch to the sandwich, as well as a nice peppery punch, without being overpowering. The green peppercorns packed in water are softer and milder than a black peppercorn. Biting into one isn't an awful experience, like biting into a black peppercorn.
Now I just gotta make my way over to Second Bar & Kitchen to try the real thing.
Next up on the blog: Octopus, Episode two.