I find myself, happily, with a whole salmon sitting in my fridge. My usual, more frugal, self would fillet, portion and freeze the fish for quick mid week meals probably making a few gluten-free salmon fish fingers too. Today though, I am going to buck the trend and cure the fillet to serve on Christmas Day with buckwheat blini and rose champagne (that is the only way to start Christmas Day in our house). This dish takes around 48 hours to cure and during that time you do need to turn the fish over morning and evening to get an even cure. But apart from that it is one of the easiest and most impressive 'home-made' dishes that you can serve, so have a go and lap up the praise when you serve this. And, if you area really sensible, you will buy your salmon already filleted!
You will get messy filleting and pin-boning the salmon before annointing it with the curing mixture, but that is all part of the fun. I prefer a slightly sweet cure so have used a little more sugar than some recipes suggest. You can freeze the salmon after it has been cured and rinsed off. I did this and layered some fresh dill in between the fillets before freezing. It is much easier to slice thinly from frozen and you get a thin vivid green layer in the middle which is pretty too.
Serve the salmon on homemade buckwheat blini (recipe here) with some soured cream or sliced avocado, delicious!
- 1 x 650g skin-on salmon fillet, pin-boned, rinsed and dried
- 20g finely shredded fennel plus any fronds that are attached, finely shredded
- (or 1 bunch dill)
- 40g dark brown muscavado sugar
- 60g coarse sea salt
- 1 dsp fennel seeds
- 1 dsp white peppercorns
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 20ml fennel vodka (or gin)
- Cut the salmon fillet in half widthways
- Lay the pieces of salmon fillet skin-side down on a piece of cling film (at least 3 times the length of the filet)
- Grind the aromatics with the coarse sea salt in a coffee grinder, liquidiser or pestle & mortar
- Add the sugar to the salt mix and mix again till combined
- Spread the mixture over the flesh and press onto the fish
- Drizzle over the vodka or gin
- Lay the shredded fennel or dill over 1 half fillet
- Sandwich the 2 fillets together and wrap the cling film tightly around the fish
- Put the wrapped fillet into a ziplock bag and lay that onto a deep-lipped plate or serving dish
- Put a plate on top and weight the plate down with a heavy object (a couple of tins of beans)
- Put the weighted dish into the fridge
- Turn the salmon pieces every 12 hours and refridgerate again
- After 48 hrs, remove the salmon from the fridge and unwrap.
- Wipe each fillet to remove the cure and rinse thoroughly to remove the last traces of any salt.
- Sandwich the fillets together again and wrap tightly in clingfilm.
- If you have time, freeze this until an hour before you want to serve this, otherwise chill it.
- Remove from the freezer or fridge an hour before you are serving it, unwrap and slice finely across the grain to create thin slices.