- 1 large whole side salmon fillet
- 2 bunches of fresh dill
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Aquavit or Gin (sprinkled over the fish prior to salt/sugar mix)
- Add some aromatics to your salt/sugar mix
- 3 bay leaves chopped finely, and added to mix
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds
This is one of the simplest recipes I have ever done. You can make it straight up with the basic recipe or try the added ingredients. They add some superb flavors, but the basic recipe is wonderful on its own.
Use the freshest fish that you can. Fresh frozen Salmon will work well if you have frozen your own catch for shipping. I find large fillets of Silver or King Salmon to be optimal for this method, but a store-bought Atlantic will also be quite tasty.
Remove the pin-bones from the fish with needle-nose pliers. You can feel these bones with your fingertips as you run your hand down the fillet. Grab the end of them with the pliers and pull them out. They can be a couple of inches long in a big fish, so be aggressive, and be sure to get them all. No one, I mean no one, likes a pin bone in the throat.
Use the freshest dill you can find. It is the key to this recipe. Chop the dill, stems and all, finely and put into a medium sized bowl. Mix in the sugar and salt. If you want to add the optional spices, do so at this time. Stir well until everything is evenly mixed.
Place the salmon skin side down on a large piece of plastic wrap. You may want to line up a few sheets to have enough to fully wrap around the fillet when you are done. Sprinkle the flesh side of the fish with aquavit or gin if you are doing so. Cover the fish with the dill and salt/sugar mix. Make sure you cover the entire fillet; there should be plenty for a generous coating. Wrap the fish tightly with the plastic wrap, place in a glass baking dish in case of leakage, and refrigerate 24-36 hours. The longer the salmon cures, the more the spice will flavor the fish and more moisture will be drawn out of the fish.
After 24-36 hours, remove the fish from the refrigerator. Unwrap and rinse off the cure. Pat dry with a paper towel and transfer to a cutting board. Using an extremely sharp knife, slice the fish on a bias into thin slices. You are ready to enjoy your tasty concoction! Try it with a bagel and cream cheese, garnished with lemon and capers. This is a great way to do something different with your catch. Experiment a little with it, you will not be disappointed!