If there´s one thing the holidays leave behind, besides enlarged bodies and resolutions no one is going to stick to, is leftovers.
And unless you freeze them, you end up getting tired of eating the same old thing for days. Which is why I try to at least use the same old thing to create something else.
This year´s leftovers included a huge piece of grilled pink salmon. And the sad thing is, I don´t even enjoy salmon much (long story short, I don´t like fish that tastes too fishy, I know, I know, but I can´t help it… luckily that doesn´t include shrimp, squids and all sorts of tasty seafood.) So this was originally a recycling effort aimed at my parents and brothers.
You basically make a yeasted dough with beer, put a mixture of the salmon, capers, olives and cheese in the middle, make a few cuts and braid it… my braid wasn´t particularly OCD, since it´s not in my nature, but it still looks quite pretty.
And the big surprise was that I actually liked it! It must be the bread. I find that bread makes everything better, and a bit of cheese never hurts either. I tried it warm and it was delectable, but it was even better out of the fridge the next day.
So even if you don´t like fishy fish like me, you might be surprised with this recipe. You could even use some tuna instead, minced meat, leftovers from a stew wouldn´t be bad either.
I can see myself making this particular dough over and over again with different fillings because it took only 1 hour and a half from start to finish (55 minutes for the 2 proofings and 35 minutes in the oven.) The dough recipe is from my favorite bread book and the filling is a personal creation, which means you are free to let your imagination, and the leftovers in your fridge, get to work.
Pink salmon braid
Dough (recipe from 145 Recetas de Panes y Facturas by Marcelo Vallejo)
Dry yeast, 1 packet or 10 grams (about 1 tablespoon), or 35 grams fresh yeast
Water, lukewarm, 250cc
Sugar, 2 tablespoons
Malt extract, 1 teaspoon
All purpose flour, 500g (about 1 pound)
Salt, 2 teaspoon
Butter, softened, 50 grams
1. Mix the water, the beer, the yeast and the malt extract in a bowl. Incorporate the flour and the salt. Add the softened butter at last.
2. Mix the ingredients until you get a soft dough. Knead until the dough is very homogeneous and is no longer sticky (about 3 minutes by hand did the trick for me.)
3. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes in a warm place.
4. Roll out the dough in a rectangular shape. Place the filling in the middle.
5. Make horizontal cuts in the dough to each side. Braid the strips of dough over the filling creating a braid.
6. Place the braid on an oiled cookie sheet and let it rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 180°C (about 340°F).
8. Brush the braid with an egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Pink salmon, 500 grams (about 1 pound)
Capers, 2 teaspoons
Green olives, chopped, 2 tablespoons
Parmesan cheese, chopped into small squares, about 1 cup (you could also use feta cheese here)
Fresh parsley, chopped roughly, 3 tablespoons
Salt and pepper (the amount will depend on which cheese you are using and how salty the salmon was.)