Recipe: Alex Reznik’s Pastrami-cured Kampachi

Written by Reznik, the former Top Chef contestant (remember the “pea puree” incident?), is the chef at La Seine in Beverly Hills.  He stopped by our studio this week and talked with Evan about what it’s like to cook for a Kosher restaurant.  His restaurant his entirely dairy free and he has a rabbi back in the kitchen, who doubles as a line cook.  Alex shares a recipe for a Pastrami-cured Kampachi… (keep reading for the recipe)

Pastrami-cured Kampachi

1 1/2 pounds center-cut amberjack filet
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons raw sugar, such as turbinado or demerara
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
1 cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves and stems
2 shallots, minced
3 bay leaves crushed up

Pastrami Glaze
2 tablespoons molasses
2 bay leaves, torn into large pieces
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Rub the amberjack fillet all over with the lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine the salt, raw sugar, cracked black pepper, cilantro, parsley and shallots and rub the seasonings all over the fish. Cover the kampachi loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days.


In a small saucepan, combine the molasses, bay leaves and cayenne and bring to a simmer. Let cool to room temperature.

In a small skillet, lightly toast the caraway and coriander seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the seeds to a coffee grinder. Stir in the paprika and ground pepper.

Gently scrape the seasonings off the gravlax. Set the gravlax on a plate, skin side down. Brush the gravlax with the molasses; pick off the bay leaves. Sprinkle the ground spices through a chinoise evenly over the fillet. Refrigerate the gravlax uncovered for at least 12 hours or overnight.

Using a long, sharp knife, cut the gravlax crosswise into very thin slices. The pastrami-cured gravlax can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 week