Pastrami Spiced Salmon

I recently served this dish at a baby shower brunch that I catered and it got rave reviews and several recipe requests! I can’t take credit for the original recipe, however I did make a few tweaks to make it my own. It’s best prepared the day before and served at room temperature*. The fennel and dill sauce is a must! Enjoy!!

Ingredients: Easily feeds 10 – 12 people

  • 3 – 4 lb salmon filet, skinned and pin bones removed
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp + 2tsp ground fennel
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped


  1. BRINE THE SALMON: Mix together the soy sauce, sugar and kosher salt. Combine it with the salmon in a large ziplock bag or shallow dish, making sure the filet is coated evenly. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes but no more than 3 hrs.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the RUB by combining the paprika, coriander, 2 tbsp of fennel and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Remove salmon from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Place salmon on the paper and carefully rub mixture into both sides. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet.
  5. While the salmon bakes, make the GLAZE by mixing together the molasses, cayenne and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then allow mixture to cool slightly.
  6. When salmon is done cooking, remove from oven and glaze. Not all of the glaze may be used. Let salmon cool and then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, allowing sufficient time for the filet to come to room temperature first (3 – 4 hrs)*.
  7. To make the SAUCE mix together the sour cream, horseradish, 2 tsp fennel and dill in a small bowl.

Original recipe courtesy of Paula’s Pantry


To display and serve the salmon, I use kitchen shears to trim around the parchment paper and then transfer the filet (with parchment underneath to prevent it from falling apart) to a serving dish. You can try and cut the salmon into thin slices but in my experience, it tends to flake apart. I use a small spatula when serving and break off “slices” and serve it with a dollop of sauce on some kind of small toasted piece of bread.


Great for a Brunch!

Sweet Corn Risotto

As the days grow shorter and the nights get a little colder, I start craving comfort foods like risotto! I came across this recipe in Cooking Light magazine (of all places) and made it for supper just last night, paired with grilled pork loin and sautéed asparagus. Now I took a few liberties with the original recipe and added my own twist (pancetta – because why not?!) but what initially intrigued me was the use of corn broth instead of stock. It truly adds sweetness and a velvety texture to this dish! And the best part is it simply screams, fall is here!!! Enjoy.


Ingredients: Feeds 4 – 6

  • 4  1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups frozen corn (I used frozen grilled corn already off the cob), divided
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz pancetta, cubed
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped (I used a blend including white, bella and porcini)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tsp fresh thyme, chopped and divided
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine 1 cup of corn with the water in your blender and pureé. Strain liquid through a fine mesh colander and into a medium sized pot. Bring corn broth to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, in an enamel coated cast iron pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the pancetta, onions and mushrooms until the fat renders, the onions become translucent and the mushrooms soften. Add the corn and let the mixture cook another minute or two, allowing corn to defrost.
  3. Add the rice, garlic, and half the thyme. Stir continuously as the grains toast and begin lose their opaque coloring.
  4. Add the wine and allow the alcohol to cook off and the mixture to thicken. Continue to stir frequently.
  5. Slowly add the heated corn broth a few ladles at a time to the mixture. Stir often and as the liquid is absorbed and the rice cooks, add more broth. You may need to reduce the heat a bit so the rice doesn’t stick.
  6. Once all the broth has been used, add the cheese and butter and stir. Add the remaining thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.

*Original recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine.