Salmon Gravlax with Confit Kumquats, Crème Fraîche and Herb Salad

Winter in Paris is a seemingly endless series of short grey days made greyer by the fact that the entire five-storey-high city is built out of bland hued stone. Sure she can be charming, all covered in twinkling lights and holiday cheer, but her gloomy outfit and dreary weather chill me to the bone. I'm sure it doesn't help that I spend the majority of my time locked inside my kitchen during the only part of the day when anyone could even hope to glimpse a sliver of sunshine as it cuts through the skyline.

My one true reprieve is found in the bright beautiful abundance of citrus fruits that we gain access to as the weather darkens. Fresh bergamot, yuzu and Buddha's hand may not be actual beams of light for me to bathe in, but their colourful abundance and acidic centres brighten my spirit and awaken my frost-numbed senses. My pêché mignon (or cute weakness) is to treat their peels as scratch-and-sniff stickers; inhaling their essences reminds me of the sunshine I only vaguely remember come February.

Kumquats are a small orange-shaped citrus that is meant to be eaten whole. With its sweet peel and tart pulp, it makes for an invigorating eating experience.

I prefer them cooked and love the tangy confit slices that result from this recipe. Look for kumquats that are firm and bright orange – avoid any with a greenish tint as they are most likely not ripe enough.

The crème fraîche that I typically buy from my favourite fromagerie in Paris is made with raw cream and is so thick it is almost sticky in its consistency. It is a true delicacy. I doubt it will be possible to find anything exactly like it in Canada (unless maybe you make it yourself), but whatever you do, please don't substitute sour cream.