Crispy Philadelphia Rolls/Goose Island Green Line/Kadavar “Rough Times”

 In Fish, Pale Ale, Recipes

You know that roll at the sushi restaurant that is by far the most Americanized roll on the menu, right?  Often referred to as the Philadelphia Roll, it’s a textural mush of minced salmon and cream cheese wrapped in rice that often gets passed over for good reason.  On the other side of the spectrum is quite possibly one of the best breakfast foods on the planet, the iconic lox and bagels.  Both dishes are salmon and cream cheese at their core, why the drastically different results and more importantly (er, relevant) what could we do with this combination to whip up something tasty and different.  For starters we recall a unique specialty that H.O.M.E Bar in Arlington Heights creates called a H.O.M.E roll, which are basically chimichangas stuffed with a variety of fillings.  Deciding we’re going to go that route,  we compiled our fillings of smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber, jalapeño and avocado that get wrapped up super tight in a large flour tortilla.  The chimichangas get fried until crisp, sliced sushi-style and served atop a spread of spicy mayo and drizzled with a sweet eel sauce.  For the beer we had some Goose Island Green Line left over in the cooler after a party this weekend and decided to use them up for this pairing.  On the stereo we were blasting the new Cadaver album “Rough Times” which is going to be a hard album to top for album of the year honors, locking a position in the top 5 for sure.

Crispy Philadelphia Rolls – This fun little recipe is more about the prep work than it is about actual cooking.  To start we need to freeze a block of cream cheese for a couple of hours then slice fresh cucumber and jalapeño peppers into sticks.

Pop these in the fridge to chill as we move on to prepping our two sauces.  First, our three ingredient spicy mayo.  In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup mayo with 1 tablespoon of sriracha and the juice of half of a small lime.  Whisk until smooth and refrigerate.

The eel sauce starts with three ingredients as well, in a sauce pan we simmer 1/2 cup each of rice wine vinegar and honey with 1/3 cup of soy sauce and let that simmer while we finish the dish.

Now we can head out to the grill and knock out the salmon which we’ve seasoned with our Not So Gentle Butcher’s Rub.  We bank the coals on one side of the kettle and place the salmon on the cool side to let the fish quick smoke for a few minutes.

Once the salmon starts to firm up we can transfer it over to the hot side and get some char on it.

With everything prepped, we’re ready to start building and rolling.  Place a large flour tortilla down and lay two strips of salmon and two planks of the frozen cream cheese near the bottom.

On top of the salmon and cream cheese we layer the sticks of cucumber and jalapeño.

The last filling is sliced avocado that goes right on top of the cucumber and peppers.  Next we carefully fold the bottom of the tortilla over the filling and fold in all the sides.  Keeping a firm grip, tightly roll upward until you’re left with a tightly rolled burrito.

The burritos go seam-side down in a frying pan with hot grapeseed oil to crisp on all sides.

Before we can plate, we need to thicken the eel sauce by combining a little slurry of corn starch and cold water to the simmering sauce.

Now we can plate.  We start with a smear of the spicy mayo in the center with a couple of slices of the rolls placed on top.  The eel sauce then gets drizzled over and there you have it, this delicious sushi/Mexican hybrid that paired perfectly with the creamy cool filling meshing perfectly with the crispy outer shell.

Goose Island Green Line – Here we are, we’ve not featured a Goose Island beer on these pages since our inception then we go ahead feature two of them in our last three posts.  We knew what we were getting into with one though, their Green Line pale ale has never been one of our favorites, but as we mentioned there was a bunch left over from the variety pack that was in the cooler from the previous night’s party. The beer pours a shiny amber color with a thin white head that disappears into the beer almost immediately.  The aroma is fairly straightforward resembling your typical amber ale, sweet and malty.  The flavor is definitely more malt-forward than hoppy with a hop bite not appearing until the very end and even then it is fairly muted.  The mouthfeel is light and the beer is pretty well balanced for a pale ale but marred a bit by the generic macrobrewed amber ale. The characteristics recall when Michelob tried being forerunners back in the day when the macrobrewers were tinkering in the microbrew world with their variety packs of “craft” beers.  Thankfully tonight, we just needed a lighter beer to let the delicate salmon rolls shine and Green Line was more than happy to oblige.

Kadavar “Rough Times” – This German trio continues to outdo themselves album after album raising the bar to impossible heights each time.  Somehow though, with the release of their new “Rough Times” album, they’ve managed to make their best album yet, and it smokes.  The opening track (and possibly the best track on the album) is the title track.  It’s a quintessential opening song; loud and infectious, it demands you to reach for the volume knob as it stops you in your tracks.  Imagine a heavier, fuzzier version of classic 70s Scorps and you’ll be in the ballpark of what this perfect slab of high powered rock and roll sounds like.  About halfway through the song there’s a cool Sabbath-y breakdown where the groove kicks in and the low-end rattles the walls while the huge Ozzy-esque vocals wail over the top.  “Into the Wormhole” is a super sludgy tune with a cool retro psychedelic vibe in the vocal department.   Another killer track on the album is “Skeleton Blues” mixing a great fuzzed out riff with some huge soaring vocals that at times recall Layne Staley.  As the name title may suggest, “Die Baby Die” is a darker tune that flawlessly combines Di’Anno-era Maiden with Danzig and 50’s greaser rock. Speaking of 50s, “Vampires” kicks off with a swing beat that you can’t help but snap your fingers to before the bottom drops out and the lighting fast riff kicks in.  This band is so strong musically, from the amazing vocals to the huge rhythm section and guitar playing, it’s hard to believe there are only three guys playing.  “Tribulation Nation” is a building tune from when the first note kicks in bringing to mind a darker version of The Music.  The band brings back the retro sound of the early 70s hard rock on “Words of Evil” recalling Deep Purple and Cactus in its raw, high-fueled energy.  The dark, mysterious organ makes its appearance on Santana-like “The Lost Child” bringing a brooding, eerie psychedelic tone to the tune.  “You Found The Best in Me” is a cool, souther-tinged medium-paced rocker.  Dabbling in the Black Crowes and Blind Melon stylings, it’s a bluesy made for summer tune that is super catchy.   Start to finish this album is beyond amazing and as mentioned a lock for one of the top album of the year honors.

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