Classic pelmeni are dumplings of Russian cuisine that consist of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough. There is debate about the exact place of origin with Ural and Siberia both maintaining strong claims. This Russian comfort food is part of the group of Eastern European dumplings like ‘vareniki, pierogis and uszka’. The word “pelmeni” describes the ear-shaped appearance of these dumplings. Fillings generally consist of ground meat such as pork, lamb, beef or mushrooms as well as salt, pepper and sometimes herbs and onions.
In Russia’s Far East the locals replace meats with salmon to make a native version of this common national dish. This is an exotic region with a unique climate, landscape, flora and fauna. Basic fruits and vegetables that grow in most Russian home gardens must be shipped to this region because of its harsh climate does not allow much to grow. Dairy products are also imported at high cost so they rarely are found in the local diet.
Fish and seafood are the basic staples in the Far Eastern diet and are not delicacies for special occasions as is the case in Russia’s European and Siberian regions. Fish is often used instead of meat in cooking common Russian dishes such as cutlets, cabbage rolls and pelmeni.
Back in March of this year (2021), I had posted a blog about traditional pelmeni containing beef filling. We enjoyed that meal a lot and have since had it numerous times with various fillings. After doing some research, I realized that fish pelmeni was a ‘real thing’. I had also seen an idea from the internet about using salmon and pastry to form a ‘salmon rose’. I thought, why couldn’t that tender pelmeni dough be used along with fresh salmon & leeks to make something special? I realize I have strayed a long way from the classic ear shaped pelmeni but the flavor is just as wonderful.
Salmon Leek Pelmeni 'Rose'
In a bowl, combine all dough ingredients & knead until a smooth dough ball forms, about 10 minutes. Wrap in plastic wrap & set aside to allow dough to rest until the filling is prepared.
Leek & Salmon Fillings
In a sauce pan, sauté garlic, leeks & mushrooms in 1 Tbsp olive oil until tender. Remove from heat & place in a dish to cool until needed later.
Prepare fresh salmon (skin, debone & slice thinly); refrigerate until ready to assemble. In a small bowl, combine all remaining filling ingredients. Set aside
Soya Broth & Veggies
In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté onion until it starts to soften. Add mushrooms, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini & oregano. Cook for about 2 minutes; remove veggies to a dish & set aside.
In the NON-STICK saucepan, bring all broth ingredients to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes; turn off heat.
Assembly & Cooking
On a LIGHTLY oiled work surface, roll out dough as thin as possible. Cut (20) 4-inch discs from pastry with a fluted, circular pastry cutter. Align the discs in 2 lines, making them overlap slightly. One line should consist of 12 circles & other other line the remaining 8. With your rolling pin, slightly roll over each line to help press the circles together a bit.
On the shorter line of dough, distribute cooled leek/mushroom filling. Roll up to form the center of the salmon 'rose'. The roll should hold together but not be tightly rolled so it will steam properly. On the longer line of dough circles, distribute the thinly sliced salmon. Top salmon with Panko crumb 'filling' & press with a spatula to flatten slightly.
Carefully place the rolled leek/mushroom 'center' at one end of the salmon 'line'. Roll up to form the outside rings of the 'rose'. Using a large heavy spatula, gently lift the 'rose' pastry into the center of the broth in the saucepan.
Turn on heat & bring soya broth to a gentle simmer. Cover & steam salmon/leek 'pelmeni' for about 35 minutes or until both salmon & dough are cooked. Remove to a serving plate & keep warm.
To the remaining broth in saucepan, add 1/4 cup milk & the previously sautéed veggies. Gently stir together then drizzle sauce & veggies over salmon/leek pelmeni 'rose'. Serve.
Special birthday wishes are going out to my sister Loretta today on July 25th. Loretta you are a treasure that our family holds dear. We appreciate you as a person, sister, friend, mother and any other function that you hold in your life! You don’t have a bad bone in your body and you never do anything to compromise your kind heart and tender soul, you are one special lady.
Even if Brion & I can’t have a ‘birthday supper’ together with Loretta, I still like to post a meal I think she would enjoy to have on her day.
This is a gourmet take on a classic potato dish. Its creamy, cheesy and comforting but instead of making this gratin with cream, I am using a béchamel sauce made with milk and two cheeses. Gruyere and Parmesan together with parsley, thyme & Dijon mustard give it a lovely flavor which highlight the taste of the leek & salmon.
WE CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY WITH LOVE, LORETTA!
Salmon, Leek & Potato Gratin
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic, lemon zest & thyme for 2 minutes. Add flour & cook 1 minute, stirring to combine. Remove from heat & gradually add the milk, stirring constantly, then return to the heat & cook, stirring until thickened.
Add salt, pepper, Dijon mustard & 3/4 cup of the combined parmesan & Gruyere cheese (reserving 1/4 cup) & stir until the cheese melts. Remove from the heat & stir in the parsley & lemon juice.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish lightly with olive oil.
Wash & pare potatoes (leave the skin on if you prefer). Slice very thinly; place one sliced potato in a layer on the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping slightly.
Arrange one third of the sliced leek & salmon evenly on top, then spoon one quarter of the cheese sauce over all. Repeat the layers with the remaining potatoes, leek & salmon, finishing with the final layer of potato & topping with the last quarter of the cheese sauce.
Sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup grated cheese. Cover with foil & bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil & bake for a further 30 minutes. Allow the gratin to stand 10 minutes before serving.
- If your making this for a 'special' occasion, you may want to make them in individual servings as I did in the picture. I used 5-inch round pans with removeable bottoms & lined them with parchment paper so they couldn't leak.
When it comes to zucchini, there is virtually nothing it seems it can’t be made into. To be honest, my love affair with this vegetable spans many years. Long before the internet and Pinterest gave us access to any recipe you could ever want, print cookbooks were the go-to. So to make a long story short, I actually have a recipe book solely devoted to zucchini that is still relevant in today’s cooking and baking procedures.
The blog recipe I want to share today is a dish suitable to be prepared all year round. Baking the salmon parcels in the oven only takes a short bit of time, making it feasible even on warmer days. The thin slices of zucchini are first grilled & then woven together to form parcels of seasoned salmon.
A versatile meal in that you can vary the ingredients of the filling by choosing other types of fish or seafood. Although it could be made into an appetizer size we enjoyed ours as a main course with rice.
Salmon Zucchini Parcels
Slice the zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strips. You will need 16 good slices.
Trim the salmon pieces into pieces approximately 2.5-inches square. Count on 2 pieces per serving. On a plate, combine spices, grated parmesan & panko crumbs.
In a hot, non-stick skillet, grill zucchini strips quickly. You're only trying to soften them a little bit as well as giving them some color.
Lay 2 strips of zucchini out on a work surface. Take 2 more & weave them into the center of the first two.
Dredge the salmon pieces in seasoned cheese/panko mixture. Place a piece of salmon on the woven part (it should be about the same size as the interwoven section of the zucchini).
Bring the sides up & around & weave them over the top. Turn parcels over to show the weave. Brush the parcels with olive oil & sprinkle the remaining seasoned cheese/panko mixture evenly over the 4 parcels. Pat the breading gently to help it adhere to zucchini strips.
Bake for about 15 minutes; remove from oven & serve immediately.
A frittata is a ‘blank canvas’ for so many different flavor combinations …. a giant omelet that is started on the top of the stove and finished in the oven.
Vegetables and cheeses are very common ingredients for frittatas, but two of my personal choices are leeks and potatoes. Leeks are like onions after charm school: less of an edge, a little more refined, with a more colorful personality. As for potatoes, their a classic breakfast ingredient that add great heartiness to a frittata.
‘Yukon Gold’ is my absolute favorite when it comes to potatoes. This variety was created in Canada in the 1960’s. It was bred from a potato grown in North Dakota, called Norgleam with a wild, yellow-fleshed variety grown in Peru. It has become one of the most successful potatoes in the world, a true culinary star!
Yukon Gold is an oblong, medium to large potato in size, with a slightly flattened shape. Their smooth, thin, gold to light brown skin is relatively ‘eye’ free, creating a uniform texture and shape. When cooked, they take on a creamy and tender consistency with a rich, buttery, earthy flavor. You can bake it, boil it, scallop it and even deep fry them. Yukon Gold answers the market’s demand for a disease-resistant, yellow fleshed potato that could be easily grown in North America.
This frittata is one of those meals that looks pretty ordinary but the flavor is amazing!
Bacon, Potato & Leek Frittata
Cut OUTER dark green tips off of the leek. Trim off root end, then separate the leaf sheaths; wash thoroughly. Slice leek crosswise into 1/2" pieces. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towel & set aside. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon drippings from the pot. Add the sliced leek & 1/2 tsp sea salt. Stir & cook for about 5 minutes until leek has started to soften. Add 1/4 cup water to deglaze the pot, scraping up any leek bits from the bottom. Reduce heat to medium & cover pot for another 3 minutes, until leek is tender. Turn off heat & keep pot covered.
In a 9-inch pie pan, scatter cooked potato cubes across the bottom. Top with cooked bacon, gruyere cheese & leek. In a bowl, beat eggs with ricotta cheese, cream, grated Parmesan, sea salt & pepper until smooth. Pour over ingredients in pie pan.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour, until top is golden brown & center is cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature. Can be made several days ahead & reheated in the microwave for about 1 minute.
Today, March 21st, our family honors the memory of my father on his birth date. Being of German decent, my dad always enjoyed having meals he recalled from his childhood. My mother excelled at cooking, so I can only imagine that she got the ‘taste of his memory’ perfect. A meal that dad enjoyed but was not one that came up very often at our house, was ‘wiener schnitzel’.
‘Wiener schnitzel’ is actually a geographically protected term in Germany and Austria and can only be made with veal. In researching this subject, I came across at least eleven more versions of schnitzel which still followed the preparation techniques of the original wiener schnitzel. In addition to different types of meat used, a schnitzel can be served with a topping or a filling.
As usual, I’m doing an oven-fried version instead of pan frying in oil or butter. It would be so nice if Brion and I could be sharing this meal with my Mom & Dad today.
Time slips by and life goes on,
But from our hearts your never gone,
We think about you always, we talk about you too,
WE HAVE SO MANY MEMORIES BUT WE WISH WE STILL HAD YOU.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Lightly oil a wire rack & place over a baking sheet.
Place each cutlet between two pieces of plastic wrap & pound with a meat mallet until about 1/4-inch thick.
In a bowl, whisk together Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper & milk. Place the flour in a plastic bag & buttered bread crumbs on a plate.
Place one cutlet at a time in the bag with flour; shake to coat. Then dip in egg mixture; covering each. Finally, dip in buttered bread crumbs, coating each side well. Place breaded cutlets onto the prepared rack.
Bake for 15 minutes; flip & bake for another 5 minutes. Check to be sure they are cooked. Serve with lemon slices & your choice of veggies.
- Boneless pork chops can be substituted for veal & taste excellent.