I am late to the luncheon! My Let’s Lunch friends met last Friday for a glass of bubbly along with their favorite nibbles. I have no excuse. Except, this gorgeous salmon for Home Cured Copper River Salmon Gravlax was still curing!
Our luncheon date this month was to share nibbles that we enjoy with a glass or two of Champagne. I had a few recipes I was going to share with my group; but, then this gorgeous shipment of freshly caught Copper River Salmon showed up just in time (almost just in time) for the party. I knew instantly what I was going to do with some of it.
I have wanted to try my hand at home curing salmon (also known as Gravlax) ever since my friend Allison did, and I knew this beautiful sockeye would be the perfect piece of fish for curing. Sockeye has a gorgeous deep, red color and is low in fat and high in protein. They are high in omega 3s, which gives them a nice buttery texture; ideal for curing. I used a mixture of salt, two different sugars, and vodka as my curing mixture. For added flavor, I used fresh dill and lemon zest. I felt like I was gambling with this prime piece of salmon; but, I went for it. The curing process is fairly simple and only takes 48 hours until you have cured salmon to devour. The hardest part is waiting for it to be ready.
I was not sure what I expect. At the end of the 48 hours, the fish was deep red in color, almost orange. The texture was silky and flaky; not stiff. The aroma was fresh and clean; not fishy. The taste …. was creamy and buttery, lightly floral and fresh. The bubbles in the champagne cut through the buttery texture, leaving taste-buds very (very) happy. I am so glad I took this gamble as it came out perfectly. I will forever be curing my own salmon from now on.
Home Cured Copper River Salmon Gravlax
1 pound fresh salmon sockeye, deboned, skin on
1/3 kosher salt
1/3 light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh dill, minced
1 large lemon, only use the zest
1/4 cup vodka
If your piece of salmon has bones, use clean/sterile tweezers to remove any bones. Tweezers work very well for doing it. I keep a special pair just for kitchen use.
In a bowl mix together, salt, sugars, dill and lemon zest.
I put the salmon in a Ziploc bag, and coat it very well with the salt/sugar mixture. Really pat it into the piece of fish, on both sides; forming a bit of a crust all around it.
Gently pour the vodka all over the top.
Squeezing the air out of the bag, zip it shut.
Lay in the fridge, on top of a plate or in a shallow dish.
After 24 hours, redistribute the salt mixture all over the fish.
It will be somewhat liquid-like, this is okay.
Just try to coat as much of it as possible all over the salmon.
Again, squeeze out the air, and zip shut.
Let sit in the fridge for another 24 hours.
When the time is up, remove from the bag and gently rinse in cold water.
I pick off the pieces of dill that are stuck on the fish.
Pat very dry using paper towels.
Using a sharp knife, slice thinly.