Cook the Books: Death by Darjeeling~

21 07 2012

I truly enjoyed this book!  I found myself engrossed in the information about teas…the different types, different methods for steeping, which flavors combine with which…and the story was okay too!  LOL!  I was so caught up in my curiosity that I ordered several sample size containers to play with and see how the flavors differ.

I’m familiar with green tea and black tea, orange pekoe (aka black) tea, Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea.  The concept of different temperatures and different brewing times…as a naive tea drinker, you find yourself wondering if it really, truly matters.  It does.

This is Jasmine Pearl green tea.  The little tiny balls are hard and dry, maybe 1/4 inch in diameter, and are very fragrant with the scent of jasmine flowers.  Very, very fragrant.  Jasmine Pearl tea should be brewed for 2-4 minutes in hot (180°F), but not boiling, water.  These tiny little balls are actually tea leaf clusters…

This is part of what I took out of the teapot after tea.  I was amazed how the leaves swelled…  The tea we drank when the proper steeping time was complete was fragrant and gently flavored.  I misjudged my time frame, so the tea steeped a rather long time…got bitter and nasty.  The upshot, pay attention.  I  ended up buying a book on tea (Harney and Sons Guide to Tea), that I find very helpful!

The dish I prepared for this book is an Earl Grey Smoked Salmon…

The salmon (wild caught coho) was rubbed with a dry rub (enough for up to 1-1/2 pounds of salmon):

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons sugar

Wrap the fish in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Prepare a stove top smoker pan for smoking using the contents of 2 Earl Grey tea bags instead of smoking chips.  Smoke at a low temperature for 20 minutes and finish salmon under the broiler if needed.

We had this served with half a mango one time,  and the next time with a rice pilaf and sauteed zucchini.  I fixed salmon this way twice to make sure it was really as good the 2nd time as the first!

I wanted to make sweet little tea cakes and cookies…but it’s been in the 100’s almost everywhere in the US, so baking isn’t really happening right now…  I’ve got enough tea to last me awhile…I’ll have time to do that when the weather is a bit cooler…  In the meanwhile, now that I’ve smelled Lapsang Souchong…I’m wondering what should one even think of having with this incredibly smoky tea…??  I’m so enchanted! LOL!