My adventures recreating Alinea Restaurant’s food at home

SALSIFY, Smoked Salmon, Dill, Caper (Part 2)

Alinea cookbook recipe for Salsify, Smoked Salmon, Dill, Caper - Alineaphile

071 | AUTUMN SALSIFY, Smoked Salmon, Dill, Caper (Part 2) Alinea Restaurant cookbook recipe, pages 264-269.

A fancy recipe for bagels and lox, Alinea style. Continued from SALSIFY, Smoked Salmon, Dill, Caper (Part 1)

Day Two


Salsify goatsbeard oyster plant tragopogonWhat is Salsify?

Salsify (sawl sih FEE) is the edible root of the Tragopogon plant, a member of the sunflower family. Originally a winter European vegetable, it is now readily available year-round as Black Salisfy (Scorzonera hispanica), Purple Tragopogon and White Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius).

After its brown skin is peeled off, the salisfy’s surface will darken and weep a milky white sap, so I keep them in a bowl of water. When cooked they have a creamy, sweet taste not unlike that of an oyster, and a soft texture. Salsify is also called ‘tragopogon,’ ‘oyster plant’ and ‘goatsbeard.’

Learn More…

Mise en place:
Alinea Recipe Salsify

I peeled the roots and kept them submerged in a bowl of cold water so they would not brown…

Peeled salsify kept in water

There are a bunch of options for cooking sousvide style. I use a SousVide Supreme Water Oven and SousVide Supreme Vacuum Sealer. These are very handy and work like a charm.

SousVide Supreme vacuum sealer

I trimmed the salsify, added them to vacuum bags with butter and thyme, then sealed them up with the vacuum sealer.

Sealing a bag of salsify with butter and herbs with my SousVide Supreme vacuum sealer

I should note that it takes awhile for the SousVide Supreme to come up to temp, so you should ‘preheat’ the oven before you need it. I cooked the salsify en sous vide in the SousVide Supreme water oven at 190ºF.

sous vide cooking

After 45 minutes, I removed them from the water oven and plunged the bags into an icewater bath. (This stops the cooking.)

Salsify, cooked en sous-vide

Peeled salsifies
Challenge Brand unsalted butter
Fresh thyme

Smoked Salmon Powder
This is an easy component to make. Freeze a piece of smoked salmon, then grate it up with a Microplane. Dehydrate. Done.

Mise en place:
Mise for Salmon Powder

I retrieved a piece of smoked salmon from the freezer, which I’d frozen the night before.

Grating Frozen Salmon

The grated it up with a fine Microplane grater.

Salmon Powder

Smoked salmon

Olive Oil Mayonnaise
This is an easy, 30-second recipe for making your own mayo, sauce mayonnaise, based on Escoffier recipe 202 mayonnaise.

Escoffier’s traditional recipe for Sauce Mayonnaise takes a little time and elbow grease to complete. He tells us to whisk, whisk, whisk. That’s fine and dandy… but with an immersion blender you can do it in 30 seconds. I use a Cuisinart SmartStick brand immersion blender to emulsify the mayo.

Cuisinart SmartStick immersion blender

In reality, you can use a light oil like canola, or a heavy oil like olive. You can use vinegar or lemon juice, or a combination of both. Just as long as you have enough acid for the emulsion to work. Some people add pepper, dijon mustard or sugar to taste (personally, I don’t like sweet mayos like Miracle Whip). But it doesn’t matter. Whatever suits your own taste. It’s up to you!

Mise en place for Olive Oil Mayonnaise

I added the egg yolks, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, water and a pinch of salt to a narrow container. I poured in the oils and allowed to settle. Then positioned the immersion blender head in the oil at the bottom of the container. I pulsed gently several times to get the emulsion going, then longer until all the oil is blended.

It will be very thick. If you let ’er rip too fast at the beginning, the emulsion will break, and you’ll get nothing usable.

Here’s a video of how easy it is:

Store in a sealed container or squeeze bottle in the fridge, just as you would for store-bought mayo.

30-Second Mayonnaise Recipe

Egg yolks
Fresh lemon juice
Grape seed oil
STAR Brand extra virgin olive oil
Morton’s kosher salt, to taste

Olive Oil Powder
Another easy recipe. Two or three ingredients (two if you nix the salt).

Mise-en-place for making olive oil powder

I put the olive oil into a large bowl, adding the maltodextrin and mixed.

Mixing olive oil and maltodextrin

It takes a bit more dubious white powder than you’d first imagine, but after adding more and more maltodextrin, I got the powdery consistency I wanted.

Olive oil powder

STAR Brand extra virgin olive oil
Tapioca maltodextrin, from WillPowder
Morton’s kosher salt, to taste

Parsley Dust
Have you ever gone to a steakhouse, ordered, and received a grand bouquet of parsley garnishing your plate? I’m sure you have. It was for years the old school method of fancying up the plate. But no one ever ate it. Until some articles came out about the healthful benefits of eating fresh parsley. Well, as a prep-cook in an old-school steakhouse, we used parsley just like that. What else ya gonna do with it?

This is an age-old, classic kitchen technique, taught by all culinary schools. Chop, rinse, squeeze, dry. I washed and patted dry a bunch of parsley, removed the stems then roughly chopped. Then chopped fine. When you’re in a hurry, you can use a butcher knife or cleaver in each hand and go nuts on it (sounds like a machine gun)…

Then I put the finely chopped parsley in some cheesecloth, wetted under the faucet, and wrung out the water, very tightly. then reserved in a container.

Or — how about dehydrating it and adding it to a breading mix?

Sounds good. It’s done all the time in the pre-packaged food industry. So why not take that technique and apply it to our home cooking? Simple enough.
Put it a dehydrator and voila! Dried parsley flakes.

Or — buy a bottle of dried parsley flakes, if you dare…


Toasted Crumb Mixture
This is simply stirring together some of the already-done components, to make a fancy Italian-style bread crumb mixture. I mixed together some of the toasted bread crumbs, dried Picholine olives, olive oil powder and parsley dust, then stored in an airtight plastic container.

Toasted Bread Crumbs, reserved from previous day
Dried Picholine Olives, reserved from previous day
Olive Oil Powder, reserved from above
Parsley Dust, reserved from above

Dried Vegetable Coating
So I’ve been a dehydration maniac for the last day or so, and all my veggies should be crispy now. You can take each of these and grind up with a mortar and pestle if you’re feeling medieval. I wanted a rough texture, not powder, and lightly pulsed in a spice grinder. Then reserved the mixture in a sealed plastic container.

Finished Dried Vegetable Coating copy

Smoked salmon powder, reserved from above
Dried capers, dehydrating from previous night
Dried ginger, dehydrating from previous night
Dried lemon zest, dehydrating from previous night
Dried red bell pepper, dehydrating from previous night
Dried red onion, dehydrating from previous night

Lemon Pudding

Lemon pudding

I combined the water, sugar, salt, lemon zest and saffron in a medium saucepan and brought it to a boil to dissolve the solids, then removed from the heat to let steep for about twenty minutes.

I strained it into a clean saucepan, added the agar and brought to a simmer, whisking for about two minutes.

I then strained it into a stainless bowl set in an ice bath to cool and set up.

After it had set, I chopped it up. This helps the blending process immensely.

…and blended with the lemon juice until it was smooth.

I had to agitate the mass with a ladle, and ending up adding a bit more lemon juice than the recipe called for to loosen it up.

This recipe made a whole liter of lemon pudding!

Finally, I transferred some to a squeeze bottle and stored in the fridge.

C&H cane sugar
Diamond Crystal kosher salt
Lemon zest
Saffron threads
Agar agar
Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cutting board and kitchen knife
Salter digital scale
Measuring cup
Cuisinart SmartStick immersion blender
Rubber spatula
Plastic containers

To Be Continued…

Next, SALSIFY, Smoked Salmon, Dill, Caper (Part 3)

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