Many professional fire departments across the country today have gone to 24-hour shift schedules. That means that, for part of one’s shift, you have the opportunity to get some shut eye. In Seattle, bed time is at 2200 hours and not a moment before. Up until that time we are supposed to be ready and available to work on anything around the firehouse that needs attention, to drill, and to even get out and do PA’s (Public Assembly inspections). We will go out after 2100 hours on Friday and Saturday nights and go to restaurants, bars, and clubs in our district to be sure that they are not overcrowded and don’t have any of their exit doors locked. After 2200 hours we can go to bed and try to get some sleep.
But life in the big city often doesn’t allow for much shut eye. It is fairly common for the bell to hit for an alarm several times during the night. And, even on the rare occasion that we have a “no hitter,” one doesn’t really get to sleep very soundly. The thought of sleeping through an alarm prevents me from sleeping very deeply. Back in the ol’ days, old-time drivers would not wait for you to get on the rig. If you weren’t down the fire pole and on the rig in under a minute after the bell hit, they would take off and leave without you. Then when they’d get back, the Lieutenant on that rig would write you up on charges and your next paycheck would get docked. Those days are gone. Nowadays we won’t leave the station until everyone is on the rig. I’ve only had a couple of times in my career when I’ve had to run back upstairs and get someone out of bed for an alarm. One’s pay is not docked anymore, but the grief we give that member oversleeping through that alarm is punishment enough!
Here is a recipe worth waking up for. We love our salmon here in Seattle, and I’m sure that you’ll love this breakfast dish if you’re not afraid of fish!
Suey’s Seattle Strata with Citrus Hollandaise Sauce
By Michael “Suey” Sulak, Seattle Fire Department, Station 8, Ladder 6
|For the Strata:
1 loaf of fresh sour dough bread, cubed
1 lb. hot-smoked salmon*, skin removed
1 lb. round brie cheese
2 cups fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 cups of half and half
3 teaspoons salt
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
|For the Citrus Hollandaise Sauce:
8 egg yolks
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cups plain yogurt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons Tabasco® Brand Habanero Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 lb. (4 sticks) butter
For the Strata:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large 12×24 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the cubes of sour dough bread evenly on the bottom of the baking dish. Crumble the smoked salmon evenly over the bread cubes. Remove the rind from the brie and crumble on top of the smoked salmon. Now sprinkle the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over everything in the baking dish. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, and salt. Pour egg mixture gently and evenly over the contents of the baking dish. Bake uncovered in the oven for 1 hour or until strata is set.
For the Citrus Hollandaise Sauce:
While the strata is baking, make the citrus hollandaise sauce: Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, yogurt, Dijon mustard, sugar, Tabasco® Brand Habanero Pepper Sauce, salt and pepper into a stainless steel bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water and whisk constantly, adding the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until all is mixed well and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and Tabasco.
Remove the strata from oven, sprinkle with scallions and serve with citrus hollandaise sauce over the top of each serving. Makes 8-10 servings.
*Note: There is a difference between hot and cold smoked salmon. Cold-smoked salmon is thin, translucent, kind of looks like sushi, and often comes pre-sliced. This is the stuff you’d find in “Lox and Bagels.” Hot-smoked salmon is thick, opaque and has the skin attached. It is cooked completely and works best for this recipe.
**Note: The term “Beanery” is still alive and well in the Seattle Fire Department and is still the name we apply to the kitchen today. Because of low wages early in SFD’s history, the firefighters could often only afford to buy beans for their meals. Beans were cheap and provided a high source of protein. The procedure was to soak the beans overnight and simmer them all day long in the kitchen…thus the term “Beanery.”