Using It All Is the Ultimate Indulgence
I have a confession: I’m done with the whole “less is more” thing. We’re typically admonished to do more with less—and consequently, we’re made to feel guilty when we don’t. [Beyond] the season of parties and holiday gatherings, I challenge you to adopt the seemingly heretical approach to: do more with more. You read that correctly. Use more to celebrate abundance! In the spirit of Spare Food, the company I co-founded with my brother Jeremy, I urge you to find more ways to use more of what you already have.
When this philosophy of more is practiced in your kitchen, you discover a treasure trove of opportunities. Those fancy imported olives that you picked up for cocktail snacks are bathed in a tangy brine. You paid for that brine, so you might as well use it. How about a vinaigrette?
Or the growing pile of shrimp shells you’re about to compost—freeze them for quick shellfish broth or bisque later. You get the idea. We’re surrounded by all sorts of culinary opportunities hiding in plain sight. It’s just a matter of flipping the script so that you see ingredients where before you would have seen waste.
Come winter, when the bounty of summer recedes, I start to roast a lot of beets (and carrots and parsnips and potatoes)! The first thing any roasted beet recipe instructs you to do is peel the cooked beets. Whatever you do, don’t toss those peels. Combine them with salt and sugar to prepare a stunning slab of cured salmon. It’s delicious—and delicious to look at. By using a little more of everything in your kitchen, you’ll miraculously find yourself becoming a more impressive cook.
Salmon Cured with Beet Peelings
SERVES 10-14 AS AN APPETIZER
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup roasted beet peels (saved from about 4-5 large roasted beets)
1/4 cup roughly chopped dill
3 strips lemon zest, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons vodka
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and pin bones removed
Accompaniments of your choice
In a mini food processor, combine all the ingredients except the salmon. Pulse for 30 seconds, until you have a beet-red cure with the texture of wet sand. In a nonreactive container or shallow dish just big enough to hold the salmon, spread half the cure in an even layer. Cover with the salmon, then spread the remaining cure over the fish to cover. Wrap and refrigerate for 10 to 12 hours. Remove the salmon from the cure and rinse well. Pat dry, slice very thin, and serve with the accompaniments of your choice: slices of brown bread, red onion, cream fraîche, capers, lemon wedges, etc.
Adam Kaye is the co-founder and chief culinary director of The Spare Food Co. and former chief culinary officer of Blue Hill at Stone Barns.