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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Black garlic spread goes great with lox

What a whirlwind the past two weeks have been. It’s nice to be back behind the wheel again, not managing anyone or anything and just cooking; well, shucking is more like it. And deciding that I didn’t have enough to do, I accepted an invitation to work with some good friends of mine, chefs up in Rehoboth, as we cooked lunch for 400 kids at the Sussex Academy. After cooking and shredding two hundred pounds of beef and chicken, we were still looking forward to eating it; that’s precisely how good it was.
Done with the school lunch, it was time to get back to work. Yes, finally, it was time to pull out the lox that Chef Jason Diettrich had been curing for a number of days. They look delicious and we’re excited to see how they came out. Of course we knew that the salmon would be delicious, but when you cure anything such as lox or bacon, there’s so much idle time that you can’t help but to think of the little things that you may not have done correctly. Suffice it to say that the lox were perfect, and running them on the special board will delight anyone who orders them.
The plate is garnished with a black garlic puree, and I can already feel the hooves on the horses in the pony express as they deliver the hate mail from readers who don’t know what it is or where to get it. So please allow me to explain.
Black garlic is a fermented garlic, cared for meticulously, and the end result is a jet-black, sweet piece of garlic that is spreadable and has a taste profile that borders garlic and dried black currants. It is a fantastic foodstuff and fun to work with. It also works great on pasta dishes. There are plenty of buying options through Amazon, and the prices are not too much higher than what we pay wholesale for them. It’s worth the investment.
The dish that the chef came up with has classical flavors of cracked black pepper (in the cream cheese), gherkins (sliced super-thin) and of course good old toast points.
For the cracked black pepper, I like to put mine in a mortar and pestle, or crush them on the tabletop by rolling the edge of a pan back and forth on them. What this gives you is true blue cracked peppercorns. Otherwise, you’ll have a good amount of ground pepper in with your cracked pepper. I like to do it the classic way. It might take a few minutes longer, but I know that the pepper is correct. Plus, it will keep the cream cheese from taking on too much of the pepper sludge, a common mishap when the peppercorns are pulverized in a spice grinder or a blender.
So now that my latest batch of graduate classes has begun, the summer has kicked off and our kids are almost done with school, all I can say is that I’m grateful to be a line guy again; no managing and few headaches, if any. That’s a nice place to be.

Homemade lox
on toast points
(Makes enough for a small army)
For the lox

1 side salmon, skin on
2 c. Kosher salt
1 c. Brown sugar
1/4 c. Fresh dill sprigs
3 Tbsp. Cracked black pepper
Remove any pin bones from salmon with a pair of tweezers or needle nose pliers
Lay out some cheesecloth so that it is in four layers. Make sure that you have enough to wrap all around the salmon
Combine all ingredients (obviously except the salmon itself) and sprinkle about a cup on the cheesecloth
Place the salmon on the dry spice mix skin-side down and ensure that there is a decent coating underneath
Rub the remaining cure on the rest of the salmon and wrap tightly with the cheesecloth
Place in a pan large enough to have it lay flat, and refrigerate for five days
Every day, flip the salmon, since water will be released from the meat as it cures (the very point of curing, after all)
At the end of five days, remove the salmon and rinse thoroughly, patting dry with a paper towel
Slice and serve. This will keep in the refrigerator for a couple weeks or it can be frozen indefinitely. You’ll know how long you’ll have before you have to worry about it. These might be so good that they’ll be gone in a week. Who knows?
Black Pepper Cream Cheese
Makes about 1 cup
8 oz. Package good cream cheese
3 Tbsp. Cracked black peppercorn

Combine ingredients thoroughly and set aside until ready to assemble
Toast points
Texas toast, as needed
Cut the crust off the bread, then cut the bread into four even triangles
Place in a 350F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until they are golden and very dry and crumbly. Do not pull them out early or they could stale quickly and/or be soggy
Black Garlic Puree
Makes about 1 cup
Black Garlic (can be purchased online)
Olive oil, as needed
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Peel the garlic and blend with a little oil, and season to taste. This will go a very long way and is a wonderful accoutrement for many things, including pasta, cheeses and salume