A few weeks ago, I attended the Family Farmed Expo, where, among other things, Chicago chefs demonstrated recipes using ingredients provided by local farmers. Dale Levitski of Top Chef fame and the Executive Chef at Sprout made a breakfast dish of steel cut oats with crème fraiche and citrus. I had no idea how easy it is to make crème fraiche, but when I realized that you just need to add a little buttermilk to heavy cream, I set off to make my first batch.
I also happened to run into some buddies from run club at the Expo, so when we were rehashing the event over our five miles the following Monday, I told them I needed ideas for what to do with my fresh soured cream. Juliana told me about this great and easy recipe – salmon smothered in crème fraiche with dill. Eric and I gobbled it up Saturday afternoon after a long run on a perfect spring day in Chicago. The lakefront was packed with runners, the water was an incredible turquoise blue, and I snapped these photos on my iPhone before making my way back home:
Salmon with Dill Crème Fraiche
1 -2 fillets of wild-caught Alaskan salmon
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon buttermilk
juice of 1/2 lemon
few sprig fresh dill
To prepare the crème fraiche, combine the heavy cream and buttermilk in a bowl. Cover with plastic, set the bowl on top of the fridge, and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the thicker the cream will get, so it just depends on the consistency you want. The good bacteria working to sour the cream will keep it from going bad. When it’s ready, stir in the lemon juice and dill.
Season the salmon with salt and pepper, then smother it with dill crème fraiche. Broil or bake it for 15 minutes at 350, or until the salmon is opaque in the center.