By John Peralta
Curing your own salmon at home is easier than you’d think and very delicious. We’ll be featuring ours—lightly smoked and thinly sliced—as the highlight of our first course during the upcoming The Franklin Institute Awards dinner this year. The most important part of curing salmon at home is to buy fish from the best possible seafood monger or shop and select a high-quality type of salmon. For this recipe, we have chosen an organic Verlasso Salmon, which is rich in natural fattiness and flavor. Other good varietals for curing are Chilean organic or Scottish farmed salmon. Once it’s cured, slice and eat it on your morning bagel, whip it into cream cheese or aerate it into a mousse. This super versatile ingredient takes a bit of time but trust us, your patience will be rewarded.
1 side (about 3 pounds) Verlasso salmon, skin on, pin bones removed, trimmed of fat
1 cup kosher salt
2 cups light brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 head fennel, stems and fronds rough chopped
2 lemons, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 orange, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- In a dry, small sauté pan, toast coriander, fennel seeds and black peppercorns on low heat until fragrant.
- In a bowl, combine the salt, brown sugar, toasted spices, fennel fronds/stems, lemon and orange. Mix together.
- Place a perforated pan (a broiler pan works well) inside a sheet pan and sprinkle a little of the curing mixture on the bottom. Lay the salmon skin side down and continue to fully cover the salmon with the curing mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours.
- After 48 hours, brush off all excess curing mixture. Under cold water, rinse off all remaining mix. Pat dry with a paper towel and place salmon on a sheet pan on a cooling rack. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 12 to 24 hours. This allows the salmon to air dry or form a “pellicle” in culinary terms.
- From here, you can thinly slice your salmon and serve.