Chef’s Fall Recipes: David Burke’s Pastrami Salmon with Pumpkin Blini

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Chef David Burke graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, then traveled to France where he trained under notable chefs like Pierre Troisgros, George Blanc, and Gaston Lenotre. Burke returned to the U.S. as a sous chef for Waldy Malouf at La Cremaillere and then for Charlie Palmer at The River Café, where he ascended to executive chef and earned three stars from The New York Times.

Chef David Burke

Chef Burke’s amazing talent and skills have been showcased recently on television, including season two of “Top Chef Masters,” a guest spot on the “Every Day with Rachael Ray” show and as a mentor to Breckenridge Bourbon distiller Bryan Nolt on Bloomberg’s small-business television series, “The Mentor”. In 2013, he returned to season five of “Top Chef Masters.”

Chef David shared with us his irresistible recipe for ‘Pastrami Salmon with Pumpkin Blini,’ a perfect dish for fall because of its ingenious play on texture and heat. The pumpkin blini added a unique touch that truly resounds the season’s flavor.

Pastrami Salmon with Pumpkin Blini - David Burke Kitchen

Pastrami Salmon with Pumpkin Blini

  • 2 pumpkins, pulped
  • 5 large shallots, peeled
  • 2 large eggs
  • Coarse salt/fresh ground black pepper
  • Approx ¼ cup olive oil
  • 18 slices smoked salmon
  • 18 slices Pastrami Salmon (recipe to follow)
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and julienned
  • 1 cup red onion slivers
  • 3 cups watercress leaves
  • Honey mustard vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Using a food processor fitted with the shredding disk (or using a handheld grater), shread the pumpkins and shallots. Transfer the potato-shallot mixture to a medium mixing bowl, and stir in the egg along with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat about 1 tbsp of the oil in a nonstick skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Spoon about 2 tbsp of the potato-shallot mixture into the hot pan to make a small, neat pancake. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the bottom of the pancake is golden. Lower the heat, turn and cook for an additional 4 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked and the pancakes are crisp and golden. As each pancake is cooked, place it on the prepared baking sheet and into the preheated oven to keep warm while you continue to make pancakes. You will need about 18 pancakes.
  4. Roll each piece of smoked salmon and pastrami salmon, cigar-fashion, into neat rolls. (This can be done early in the day. Cover the rolls and refrigerate them until ready to use.)
  5. Combine the apple, onion, and watercress in a mixing bowl. Add about ½ cup of the honey-mustard vinaigrette and toss to combine.
  6. Slightly overlap three warm pancakes down the center of each of six dinner plates. Place a smoked salmon and a pastrami salmon roll on top of each pancake. Spoon equal portions of the apple salad on each side and drizzle some of the vinaigrette around the edge of the plate. Serve immediately.

Pastrami Salmon

  • 1 cup coarse salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, well-washed
  • ½ pound shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 lb side salmon, skin and bones removed
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 5 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • ¼ cup ground coriander
  • ¼ cup freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup cracked black pepper
  1. Combine the salt and sugar in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Place the cilantro, parsley, and shallots in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process to a smooth puree.
  3. Place the salmon on a platter and generously season both sides with the salt-sugar mixture. When well seasoned, coat each side with a generous layer of the puree. Cover the platter with plastic wrap. Place the salmon in the refrigerator and allow it to marinate for 3 days.
  4. When the salmon has cured for 3 days, combine the molasses, cayenne, and bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool.
  5. Combine the paprika and coriander and with the black peppers in a small bowl.
  6. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and, using a spatula, scrape off and discard all of the seasoning from the fish. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of the salmon with the cooled molasses mixture. Sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of the salmon to lightly coat it. Place the salmon on a clean platter and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Pastrami Salmon will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 1 week.
  7. When you are ready to serve the salmon, unwrap it and cut it, on the bias, into thin slices.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • ¼ cup tarragon vinegar
  • ¼ cup sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarse salt
  1. Combine the olive oils and mustard oil in a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the tarragon and sherry wine vinegars. Add the honey, mustard, pepper, and salt and whisk vigorously for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is emulsified.
  2. This will make more vinaigrette than you will need for the salmon. The remainder may be stored, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

David Burke Kitchen is located at 23 Grand Street Soho, NY 10013

Hours of Operation

Breakfast: Monday – Friday, 7 am – 11 am
Light menu available: 10 am – 11:30 am

Lunch: Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm
Light menu available: 3 pm – 5 pm

Brunch: Saturday – Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm

Dinner: Sunday – Wednesday, 5 pm – 10 pm
Thursday – Saturday, 5 pm – 11 pm
Late night menu available: 10pm ’til close.

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Chef Ken

Chef Ken

A chef by profession, a foodie at heart. He's been passionate about food and cooking since he was young. He is the online Community Manager of FriendsEAT.
Chef Ken