I love my cured salmon. I eat my weight in salmon when I’m in NYC at Russ & Daughters. Often at grocery stores, you can only find smoked salmon. But that’s not the same. I was binging on The Chef’s Line on Netflix and one of the restaurants cured their own salmon. They said it only takes a few hours and I didn’t believe it. So I did some research on my own. And it’s true. In 24 hours, you can have your very own cured salmon to eat. If you’re like me, sometimes the fish doesn’t even make it onto a plate and just goes directly from the cutting board into my mouth.
I had no idea how easy it was to cure my own salmon. But now that I know, there’s no way I’m not going to be doing this more often. The prep work is very minimal for this and most of the cook time is inactive waiting time. Low work, high gain (in weight from eating too much cured salmon). I reviewed a lot of methods before I settled on the spices and flavors that I added to my curing. The husband really liked the lemon zest as it added a bright citrus note to the salmon, like in cooked salmon dishes. He said he’s never had one in restaurants that did it this way. Experiment with different citrus in this recipe! Grapefruit or yuzu would be delicious but I just used what I already had in my fridge.
The salmon was so fatty, but in the best way possible. The texture of the fish became dense from the curing but remained velvety. It was amazing just eating it while I was cutting it. Half of the fish went into my mouth instead of my plate. I ate my cured salmon on a poppy seed bagel with some chevre, capers, dill, cherry tomatoes, and my favorite 6 minute egg. It was such a filling and satisfying brunch.
- 1 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 lemons, zested
- 1 pound salmon, skin on
- Step 1 Remove any pin bones from the salmon, if any.
- Step 2 Mix together the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.
- Step 3 In a glass baking sheet, pour about 1/3 of the mixture to cover the bottom.
- Step 4 Place salmon skin down onto the salt mixture.
- Step 5 Spread the lemon zest evenly across the salmon.
- Step 6 Top salmon with remaining salt mixture and ensure fish is completely covered.
- Step 7 Wrap baking dish with saran wrap and leave in refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Step 8 Remove fish and rinse under cold water to remove salt and lemon zest. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Step 9 Cut fish thinly against the grain and leave the skin behind.
You can cure the fish for longer than 24 hours. I haven’t done it yet but I’ll experiment with it to see how the textures and flavors change with more time. The fish can be kept for about four days in the fridge afterwards. Wrap it tightly in saran wrap and place into a tupperware. Enjoy!