Certain foods always can brighten the mood.
This breakfast salmon strudel was just what I was looking for. But first off, don’t let the word strudel stop you There’s no making your own strudel dough, and the labor-intensive rolling and stretching by hand that goes along with it.
This strudel is made using phyllo dough, which makes it a lot easier. Using the phyllo, while not the same as some traditional strudel, gives you crisp flaky layers. Yes, it’s like working with pieces of wet tissue paper, but the beauty is that even if you mess up, melted butter fixes mistakes.
I was armed with about half a roll of phyllo in the freezer eager to use it up. The rest was also easy because I had plenty of eggs and some smoked salmon planned for appetizers that didn’t get made.
The original name of this recipe, Breakfast Salmon Strudel, is a little misleading. While it’s terrific for breakfast, it’s also ideal as a brunch dish, lunch or dinner served with some mixed greens. As a brunch dish you can assemble these up to 12 hours in advance. When you’re ready to serve them, just pop them in the oven and bake for minutes.
There’s one caveat with this recipe: Don’t overcook the eggs. Just as hard-cooked eggs can have a green or grayish tinge when overcooked, so can scrambled eggs. While they may look unappetizing, the green tinged eggs, sources say, are safe to eat.
Beside overcooking, having the heat too high and holding the cooked eggs for too long can cause the color to change. To prevent this, whisk a small amount of lemon juice into the raw eggs before scrambling. Also, use a rubber spatula when cooking the eggs to gently stir and push the soft curds toward the center as they cook.
With today’s recipe, be sure to undercook the egg scramble because it continues to cook in the oven.
The bright citrusy flavors in the Lemon Chive Sauce are a great match for the eggs and salmon encased in the phyllo. This month plenty of citrus starts rolling in. It’s the one bright spot in the produce section during the doldrums of winter.
The chive sauce is similar to a hollandaise sauce — minus the egg. However, you can easily skip making the sauce and instead use a packet of hollandaise sauce mix.
SMOKED SALMON BREAKFAST STRUDELS
Adapted from Food and Drink magazine. Preparation time 40 minutes, total time 1 hour, 40 minutes.
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 sheets phyllo pastry
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into thin strips or prices
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
LEMON CHIVE SAUCE
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, salt, pepper and lemon juice until frothy.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and swirl to coat pan. Pour in egg mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring gently with a heatproof spatula, for about 2 minutes or until just set, yet the surface is still shiny. Allow the mixture to cool to just warm.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In small saucepan, melt remaining butter over low heat. Place phyllo on work surface and cover with a slightly damp tea towel. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface with 1 short side facing you and brush lightly with melted butter. Place second sheet on top and brush with butter. Starting about 2 inches from short side of sheet closest to you, spoon one quarter of the eggs in the center in a 4-by-3-inch rectangle with 1 long side facing you.
Sprinkle one quarter of the salmon on top of eggs and sprinkle with chives and lemon zest. Starting at edge closest to you, fold pastry over filling. Fold both long sides toward center and brush surface lightly with butter. Fold up into a rectangle loose packet. Don’t make it too tight, because the eggs will puff up in the oven. Place the packet seam-side down on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush strudel packets with more melted butter. Repeat to make 3 more strudels. At this point, you can make the strudels and refrigerate up to 12 hours.
To make lemon chive sauce, combine 1/2 cup of the cream with chives and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Cover and refrigerate remaining cream separately.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake strudels for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, pour chive and lemon cream into a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, just until bubbles form around the edge. Remove from heat. Whip the remaining 1/4 cup cream until soft peaks form; whisk into hot cream mixture. Whisk in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve strudels drizzled with Lemon Chive Sauce or with sauce on the side. Serve over a bed of frisee, mixed baby greens or with tomato slices.
Yield: 4 servings.