Vanilla & Orange Asparagus with Fizzy Vodka Salmon

It´s still chilly in the mornings and we have those rainy days, but when the sun comes out you feel that the spring is about to break through: crocuses and snowdrops are coloring the green-brown lawns, people start wearing sunglasses and eat ice cream and finally last Friday my radio told me that the asparagus season has officially started. 

IMG_1200Although at the moment asparagus is very expensive I could not resist and bought some at our local market. We like to steam our asparagus in an oven bag. Using this method you do not only protect the asparagus from loosing all it´s flavor in boiling water, but you intensify it´s aroma even more by combining with other aromatics such as orange and vanilla.

Together with a fresh and fizzy marinated salmon we had a perfect spring treat on our plates. It could not be better? Oh yes it can! As I was visiting a wine fair in Cologne that day I was able to bring home a bottle of our favorite Pinot Blanc (Löffler winery, Staufen-Wettelbrunn, Germany). H-E-A-V-E-N!

Jealous? Well – we share the recipes with you, but not the Pinot …..

Ingredients for the salmon:

  • 1 fresh, raw salmon fillet (approx. 1kg), bones removed, with skin
  • 75 g coarse sea salt
  • 75 g sugar
  • a generous dash of vodka
  • finely grated zest of 2 organic lemons, 1 organic grapefruit and 1 organic lemon
  • ½ bunch basil, finely chopped
  • a generous piece of finely grated ginger (it should look like a paste)
  • seeds of half a vanilla bean, scraped out

 to serve:

  • finely chopped basil
  • a quick dip made of Crème légère, fresh orange juice, lemon pepper and maple syrup

Preparation of the salmon:

  • Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl.
  • Put the salmon, skin side down, into a large baking dish and give it a good “massage” with the marinade.
  • Wrap the salmon tight in cling wrap and ballast the fillet (with e.g. a chopping board and your largest and heaviest cook book on top).
  • Let the salmon rest in the fridge for a total of 48 – 72 hours, turn the fillet around once after 24 hours.
  • Before serving rub the old marinade of the fillet using kitchen towel and give it a second rub with freshly chopped basil.
  • Slice the salmon fillet as thin as you can starting from the flesh side using a long, thin knife until you have scraped all the flesh of the skin.
  • For the dip: Mix Crème légère with a bit of orange juice, lemon pepper and maple syrup.

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Ingredients for the steamed asparagus:

  • 1 kg white asparagus
  • a piece of butter
  • a dash of fresh dry white wine (e.g. Vinho Verde)
  • half an orange, sliced
  • seeds of half a vanilla bean, scraped out plus the the empty bean
  • salt, sugar. pepper to taste

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Preparation of the asparagus:

  • combine all the ingredients in an oven bag, seal, done!
  • Bake at 160 – 180° C for 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the diameter of the asparagus

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