Friday, 22 May 2009

I HAVE THE CURE...for salmon that is

Okay, I am no doctor, but i can cure a mean side of salmon.  Its so simple and amazing.  One simply uses a great piece of sustainably, caught or farmed salmon a few ingredients, and waits 12 hours and you have perfectly cooked fish...cured that is.  This is a process of "cooking"  a piece of fish with salt.  The recipe is technically a form of gravlax, which is a northern European method of curing fish.  Often times people make this recipe and let it cure for many days, which is fine, and the fish will last longer, but the beauty of a 12 hour cure is the flavour of the salmon cure is complemented by a soft perfectly cooked piece of fish.  

Before you begin, please realize there is no "cooking" involved here, the salmon is cured simply by the act of salting it...don't be afraid, its perfectly healthy, please just use super fresh fish, not frozen!!!!  You may also be asking why do this???  Just try it, and you will soon realize how wonderful gravlax is, and how easy it is to make little appetizers of gravlax and herbed cream cheese on cucumber rounds, gravlax and eggs for breakfast, a nice filling for sandwiches, a wonderful protein rich addition to salads,etc...

You may also be thinking...12 F!$?!$ ing hours i don't have the time...hold below and realize that it takes all of about five minutes of active work and 12 hours of sitting in the refrigerator.  So please, just trust me, and get ready to find the cure...


1 pound of fresh salmon, skin and bones removed (tail sections will cure faster as they are thinner)
1 Cup kosher salt ( i like the feel and taste of a slightly gritty salt)
1 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon 
zest of 1 lime
zest of 1 orange
couple 2 -3 sprigs of fresh dill or fennel fronds
2 T fresh grated or super fine diced ginger
1 T coriander, toasted  and ground
1 ounce gin
saran wrap
a heavy object?!?!?!?

Mix the cure: salt and sugar, zests, herbs and spices in a large bowl

Lay out a large piece of saran wrap and spread 1/2 the cure mix on the saran wrap in an shape that mimics the size of the salmon piece (or pieces...yes you can use scraps but they cure much faster)

Add the piece of salmon gently on top of the cure.

Sprinkle gin evenly over the  top of the salmon.

Add the rest of the cure on top of the salmon in an thick even coating.

Place another piece of saran wrap over the salmon and seal into a packet.

A couple more layers of tightly wrapped saran wrap around the fish curing packet will help to hold in the juices( as the salmon cures, the juices will leach out from the salmon).

Place fish packet in a shallow flat dish and weigh it down with a heavy object         (bricks, canned food, etc) and let sit in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

Remove the fish from cooler, unwrap, gently rinse off the salt cure and have grav( grave) lox (salmon)!!!  

I suggest slicing with an incredibly sharp knife with long slow, angled slices.

First of all, their really were no dishes to wash!!!

So many things to do with cured salmon...diced in a cured salmon tartare ( with lots of fresh herbs, EVOO and fresh lemon juice), wrapped around blanched asparagus, tossed in scrambled eggs, used as a garnish on top of grilled salmon, did i hear bagels and cream cheese...on toast with tomatoes and sour cream.

So as it  gets warmer out we should all start thinking about these types of no stove dishes. Why heat up the kitchen everyday when you could stay cool, go to sleep, and wake up to a nice piece of cured salmon.  And check out the next blog post for some other non cooked dishes...


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