Last year, we were all given the gift of time. Some hours were filled with nothing, others were filled with enough worry and anxiety to last a lifetime, and others were full of magic.
Thanks to your ongoing support, we kept busy in the kitchen. I also had an impressive list of 2020-2021 off-season projects to try to accomplish. But, with just enough of the team in place to keep the fire burning, we never had a chance to get to this stuff.
However, as sad as it is to qualify this as an anniversary, we are preparing for our second Easter celebration at home. We have perfected our take out celebration offerings and have created something truly special.
We are getting good at in-house smoking. This is something that takes time. First, you need to brine meat or fish, and after brining for days, you need to let it dry out so the smoke can adhere to it. Then you have to smoke it for hours. In a non-pandemic year, we would not have space, refrigeration or time to dedicate to smoking as we have this spring. Every Easter Brunch has included a carved ham. In the past, I have brought in pre-smoked ham, soaked them in a cinnamon, clove and orange marinade then slowly warmed them to serve. But with the time we were granted, I took this on as a start to finish project. So, we brined raw shoulders for a week. Then carefully smoked and glazed them for a whole day. And for your celebration, we are selling 12-pound whole hams (about the size of a small turkey) so you can gently warm and carve them at home. I must say these little hams are one of the most delicious things we have ever cooked in this kitchen. If a 12-pound ham is too much, we are selling them sliced in two-pound packages too.
Another calling card for spring is smoked salmon, and we managed to squeeze 12 sides into the smoker last week. The process of properly smoking salmon takes time and space, too. Curing in salt and sugar with citrus zest and spices takes two days. Then drying the fish for at least two days creates a pellicle (dry skin), which will let the smoke attach itself to the flesh. The fish is then cold smoked for a couple of hours. During a normal spring, it is hard for us to find the extra day to properly dry the skin. We scramble to find space, while we are ramping up opening for the golf season and getting ready to cook for 500 members who normally attend our first grand buffet of the season. So again, with the luxury of time and space, we had the extra day and made some salmon that is outstanding.
Slicing smoked salmon is a special skill in itself. You are supposed to get at least 40 slices per side, and while slicing, each slice likes to try to slide away from the other. Trying to make that ‘perfect store-bought, put the puzzle back together again’ look is tough. I just watched a video on YouTube where Gordon Ramsay attempted to race the Guinness World Record holder for hand slicing smoked salmon. It was amazing! So I am going to give it a try too. Watch for us to post our record attempt later this week. But first, you will have to place orders for Smoked Salmon!
Thank you again, for your support. We look forward to seeing you on the patio soon. Have a great Easter and let it fly pure and long off the first tee!