Ideas For Curing Salmon

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Joined Oct 2, 2001
I've been thinking about putting a citrus cured salmon on my new spring menu - I think it will be cleaner and brighter than our current smoked salmon that works wonderfully throughout the fall and winter. I've never actually cured a salmon and some concerns are the following:
-how long do I cure for & what is the shelf life of the fish once it is cured? As always, I'd love to hear some of your ideas.
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
I make an 'Italian' cure with marsala and basil; a margharita cure with tequila and citrus; and a Scottish cure with Scotch and dill.

Start with salt, sugar, and whatever spices/herbs you want (or the citrus rind). Coat the salmon on both sides, wrap in plastic, place on a sheet pan, cover and weight down. Let it cure for 24 hours, drain off the moisture, and add aromatics like liquor and liquid seasonings (I just did one with a bourbon and pomegranate molasses cure). Wrap and weight again, and let cure for two days. Unwrap, place on a rack uncovered, and let it dry out for two days. Should be good for about a week after this.
 
1,006
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Joined Feb 6, 2002
Marm,

You do this in the fridge, right?? :confused: Sorry Never cured anything before either. :blush:
 
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Joined Mar 19, 2002
Marmalady I was wondering if you would share your recipe for the Scottish cure. I enjpy using liquors in my cooking for the flavor and earthiness that some scottish whiskeys add to the dish
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
How are you thinking of serving your "spring" salmon?

I am sure you will find some nice recipes for gravlox.

The sugar/salt ratio should be equal, the salt is what draws out the liquid from the flesh, and also cures the flesh, as the sugar main roll is to keep the flesh somewhat tender.

With my traditinal gravlox as an app sometimes I make a aquavit,lemon and tarragon sorbet, that I place on a seasoned chiffinade of lettuce and top it with a couple thin slices of salmon, a little horseradish cream and some crushed and toasted juniper berries.

I do one similar to marmaladys tequilla cure, I add 2/3 lemon verbena and 1/3 cilantro to the cure and proceed as normal.

I then make a salsa cruda, slice some avocado and candy some lime zest.
I slice the salmon on a long bias and fill it with some of the cruda, avocado and lime and fold it like a spring roll, I serve this chilled and topped with a couple drunken grilled 16/20s and a citrus vinaigrette.
 

pete

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Joined Oct 7, 2001
At a Southwestern place I used to work at we used to do the tequila and citrus thing. We also added lightly crushed coriander seed and dried habaneros. It was great.
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
CC & Pete - Great ideas!

Bacchus - The Scottish salmon is cured as I said above, with sugar, salt and pepper (thanks, CC, forgot to mention ratios!); then after that has cured for a day, pour off the liquid, and add Scotch and chopped dill, wrap and cure again for two days, then drain, open and let dry cure for two days.
 
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Joined Oct 2, 2001
Thanks for answering all of my questions - the curing time, shelf life, and ratios of salt to sugar - it'll give me a lot to work off of. I was thinking of a citrus cure and possibly working in some cumin and heat. Previously I thought I'd do this by means of a chile oil with crushed toasted cumin and cilantro on top of the finished cured fish, but now I'm definately going to try to work those flavors into the dry cure and into the second stage of the liquid cure. I'll let you know how my first attempt pans out (give me about a week!!)
 
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Joined Mar 7, 2002
Try adding some Lapsang Souchong (a black tea from Taiwan - an assertive, tarry tea with pine smokiness) during the curring process. It will add a wonderful subtle depth of smoke and wood flavor to your cured fish. I work at a place that serves this fish as is on a bed of watercress and a few scallions on top. It is wonderful.

What great ideas cape chef!

:)
 
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Joined Apr 9, 2002
HI There

I was woundering if are going to serve the cured salmon hot or cold. I have done both the only major differance is that if you are going to serve it warm you only have to cure for 45min to 1 hour depending on the thickness of the salmon. if you would like the recipe i can post it for you. I would also suggest using other fish such as trout or artic char fish are just as nice or nicer then salmon.

Brian:)
 
3,853
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Joined May 26, 2001
Everyone's suggestions have sounded GREAT! But I kept thinking, I can't do a whole side of salmon at home. So Brian's idea of using a smaller fish is just perfect! But is it safe to use a fresh-water fish like trout?

And yes, Brian, please DO post your recipe!
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Suzanne, you don't need to cure the whole side of salmon - unless you really, really, love it - and plan on eating it for weeks!

I usually get a 'center-cut' piece of fillet, where the the two cut ends are more or less the same size, rather than tapering. I've cured as small an amount as 1 lb. and it works just fine.
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
Dear Suzanne,

I like fresh water trout smoked, It goes through a liqiud brine before being smoked, but a pure cure (no pun intended) will pretty much break the trout down.

As for Artic Char, This is a really good idea. I serve it quite a bit but I have never cured it "ala gravlox" but I imagine you would have very similar results with the char.

Also, Marmaladys point on buying a center cut piece is a good idea.
cc
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
I think I'd be a little wary of using a 'wild' fish rather than a 'farmed' fish, because of parasites. The curing process because there's no heat, will not kill the little buggies.
 
3,853
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Joined May 26, 2001
Marmalady -- from what I've seen, it's the farmed stuff that's riskier. Kind of the same way that if 1 kid in daycare comes in sick, every kid gets sick.

I was thinking more based on not using freshwater fish for sushi. Yeah, I know about those disgusting worms in swordfish, but there are invisible guys in freshwater fish.
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Maybe I'm wrong - I thought I had seen something or read something where they said the parasites were less of a problem in farm raised fish, because they can control them with medicines better.

Anecdotal story time - I was making sushi to impress my martial arts instructor once, and had gotten a beautiful piece of fresh wild salmon at the fishmongers. Using my tweezers, I was carefully removing all the pin bones, when I noticed that some of the bones were REALLY pliable, and seemed to be moving!!! Yup, disgusting little wormies!!!!!
 
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Joined Apr 9, 2002
hi there again

using trout is find as long as its from a good source, where i work we use trout more then salmon will also use farmed trout so we know they are from a good source but i have seen people use wild trout.

citrus marinated trout confit

1 lemon zested
1 lime zested
1 orange zested
1/2 c sea salt

copped:
fresh thyme
fresh rosemary
fresh dill
star anise
correnader

Mix all the ingds. together and cut the trout in the portion sizes about 3 to 4 onces ant press the mix on to each piece. let set for one hour and rub off the mixture from the trout. heat up the olive oil to 200 F and slowly poach the trout in the oil for a few mins.

the recipe for the gravlox i left at work but i well post it soon.

brian


:) :) :)
 
3,853
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Joined May 26, 2001
At the 2 places where I've worked that had sushi bars, the (real Japanese) sushi chefs would coat the salmon with coarse salt and freeze it before using it raw. They both said this was standard practice in Japan, to kill any little guys that might be wiggling around. I guess technically then it's not "fresh," but it is safe.

On the farmed vs. wild question: I'm more concerned that they HAVE to give the fish drugs because they are penned and end up swimming through their own feces. It's the same idea as the indiscriminate use of antibiotics for other food animals. The growers create the need for the meds. I know this is a very emotional issue to many people, so I won't go any further.

Brian -- Thanks for the trout recipe. Looks yummy and very do-able. I see it is briefly cooked, so that makes me less wary.
 
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