Curing has been done for thousands of years as a way of preserving food. However in these modern times curing has changed from preservation to adding flavour. Here, the salt and sugar “chemically cook” the salmon. The herbs, gin and citrus work to add flavours that other methods of cooking cannot do.
Your choice of gin is going to be a major factor into what flavour your salmon will have. I like to use Isle of Harris gin as one of its key ingredients is kelp so this salmon will have a more pronounced sea flavour. If you use, say, Edinburgh Gin which contains more citrus elements you will have a fresher tasting salmon. This is all experimentation to find out how the flavour develops. I find this works well on a salad or as canopies before a dinner party.
serves: 4 as starter or salad Time: 10-24 hours
40ml of gin
2 portions of salmon, preferably tail, approximately 180g each
1/2 cup of sugar (I like soft brown but castor is fine)
1/2 of fine salt
Rind of a citrus fruit, I use grapefruit
juice of half a citrus fruit, I use grapefruit
5 juniper berries
5 coriannder seeds
5 pink peppercorns (optional)
- Mix all dry ingredients including the rind and spices (gently crushed). Add gin and citrus juice and mix.
- In some form of walled dish add 1/3 of your mixture to the bottom of the dish. Place the salmon on this layer. If the fish has skin put it skin side down. Cover with remaining mixture and then cover with cling film.
- Every 5-6 hours turn the salmon to the other side. You can cure for up to 24 hours but no less than 8 hours in my experience. The longer you cure the deeper a flavour you will get but tougher the final product. Ideally leave for 12-15 hours when you first make this and then change timings next time as desired.
- Remove salmon and run under cold water to remove excess salt. Cut into thin slices.
- Serve as desired.