GoldLeaf Breakfast

March 1, 2008

GoldLeaf Breakfast
Varietal: Pinot Gris or Sparkling Wine

Serves 4
I first enjoyed this light, yet elegant breakfast dish during a Christmas-time train ride from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Banff, Alberta, aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. While a winter wonderland passed by our windows as we traversed the Canadian Rockies by rail, we sipped Sumac Ridge Pinot Gris and savored our lightly scrambled eggs wrapped in wild British Columbia smoked salmon, drizzled with dill crème fraîche, and topped with paddlefish caviar. Finely crafted British Columbia sparkling wines, such as Sumac Ridge Steller’s Jay Brut, Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Brut, or Blue Mountain Brut Sparkling Wine, would also make for festive pairings.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, plus extra sprigs for garnish
1/2 pound thinly sliced cold-smoked salmon (Note: Use cold-smoked, as opposed to hot-smoked, salmon for this dish.)
12 large eggs
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ounce domestic (trout or paddlefish) caviar
1. At least 1 day before you plan to serve, mix the cream with the buttermilk in a small, clean glass jar with a lid. Let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) without disturbing for 8 to 24 hours, or until the cream thickens. Stir well, cover, refrigerate, and use within 10 days. Ten minutes before serving, remove the crème fraîche from the refrigerator and stir in the minced dill.
2. Line the inside of 4 small ramekins or custard cups with plastic wrap. Line each bowl evenly with the smoked salmon, covering all areas completely, but being careful not to layer the salmon too thickly. Cover the ramekins loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Whisk the eggs, salt, and pepper together in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until it foams. Add the eggs and cook, stirring frequently to allow the eggs to cook, until medium-firm, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Immediately fill the salmon-lined ramekins with the eggs, pressing down firmly to mold the eggs.
4. To serve, place a dinner plate over each ramekin, hold the plate firmly over the ramekin, turn it over, and unmold, removing and discarding the plastic wrap. Drizzle each with 1/4 cup of the crème fraîche and 1/4 ounce of the caviar. Garnish with a sprig of dill and serve immediately.
Cook’s Hint: If you do not want to make your own crème fraîche at home (although it is a fun “science project” that every curious cook should try at least once) simply substitute the store-bought variety.
Recipe reprinted from Pacific Northwest Wining & Dining: The People, Places, Food, and Drink of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia (Wiley, $34.95) by Braiden Rex-Johnson. Available at Amazon.

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