Seems like I have been on a bit of a salmon kick recently, but lets be honest here.. I live in Seattle, Coppper River is in full swing, the sun is shining, the sky is blue.. well, you get the picture.
I have cooked salmon a lot of different ways. Pan seared, roasted, slow roasted, grilled, steamed, poached. I should probably not get into my obsession with raw salmon either… Lets just say, more than once have a put a side of salmon in front of me, ready to fillet up for a party, and trimmed off the entire belly, just so I get that wonderful fatty cut for myself to eat raw whilst I am cooking. Sorry guests, no belly for you.
However, I have never cured my own salmon. It is more than likely that I have eaten my own weight in smoked salmon over the years, but never have never had a go at curing or smoking salmon before. Heck, I remember when I was a wee lad back in England, our family getting a package of smoked salmon shipped to us every Christmas as a present from my grandfather. The look on my face couldn’t have been more different from that of my twin brother’s. He couldn’t stand the stuff, I couldn’t stand having to wait till Christmas day to crack the package open and eat some for lunch. Or dinner. Or breakfast.
Well, it seemed like it had to happen sooner rather than later. What with me starting to get into this home Charcuterie nonsense, and my love of the pink fish, it was just a matter of time. One thing I didn’t want to do was smoke it. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don’t want to make the setup for it.
Then a bloody great book goes and lands on my doorstep.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention this book was a freebie. From time to time I get sent cookbooks from various publishers, with no strings attached. I don’t get paid for it, they sure as heck don’t expect blog posts or reviews on the books. If I find them interesting, I talk about them. If they aren’t my cup of tea, they don’t get a mention.
The Scandanavian Cookbook by Trina Hahnemann however is very much a cup of Darjeeling with a splash of milk thankyouverymuch. Now, I am not going to prattle on about the book that much. Go to a store, pick it up and flick through it. The book does it for me, but that is just my taste. Simple, clean, well executed food that is imagnative enough to be interesting, but simple enough to cook without too much sweat. Oh, and it also has rather spellbinding photography in it. We might well be going to Copenhagen next year, just thanks to the wonderful city shots in this book.
One recipe in there got me thinking. It was what they called “citrus marinated salmon”. To me that instantly sounded rather fresh and appealing. Course the lovely photo of a salmon fillet with little curls of citrus zest on it in the book sure helped. I was looking for something different that I could take to work for lunch, and this certainly seemed to be it.
I was right. It was bloody fantastic. The citrus really comes through, but doesn’t overpower the delicate taste of the lightly cured salmon. What’s more, sprinkle the cut slices with citrus zest just before eating, and the liveliness gets pushed even more.
The book says to serve it with a simple green salad, and some toast. I couldn’t agree more. Frankly though, I prefer it with bread. But no biggie.
Citrus Cured Salmon (recipe from The Scandanavian Cookbook)
NOTE: This recipe is for a full side of salmon. I did this with just 3/4lb of salmon – I just did 1/3 of the salt and sugar listed.
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
1.5 cups superfine sugar
10 oz sea salt
1 side of salmon, filleted, skinned, pin bones removed
for serving: orange and lemon zest
Mix the zests together with sugar and sea salt (not the zest for serving). Rub this over the entire surface of the salmon (front and back), and wrap the fillet in a few layers of plastic wrap. Place in a dish (it might well leak liquid) and refrigerate for 3 days. (personally, I think it could be in there for much less – it was pretty firm after 3 days.. next I am going to try for two days)
Take the salmon out of the fridge after 3 days, remove the plastic wrap, and wash the fillet under cold water, to remove the cure. Wrap again in plastic wrap, and pop in the freezer for 12 hours.
Defrost the salmon in the fridge. When defrosted slice the salmon into thin slices. I like to lay the knife almost parallel to the cutting board, and just literally shave thin slices diagonally across the salmon fillet.
Best served sitting in a bright orange garden chair, wearing a light cotton shirt.