Looking for a showstopper for your next get-together? Then look no further than this gorgeous, homemade cured salmon!
Curing salmon may seem like an intimidating project. But all it takes is a handful of easy-to-find ingredients and about 24 hours.
The flavor is incredible -- the salmon sits in a cure made with salt, sugar, and herbs, which firms up the flesh and imparts the saltiness we all know and love. This home-cured version costs a fraction of the store-bought kind.
Oh—and did we say there’s absolutely no cooking involved?
Once you get your hands on fresh salmon, it requires less than 10 minutes to prepare it for curing. Then just wrap and leave it in the fridge.
Why we love these ingredients
Not only is Salmon rich in protein, but it’s also packed with health boosting Omega 3 fatty acids.
Studies confirm that Omega 3’s can help reduce inflammation, enhance digestion and offset many of the unhealthy effects of bad eating habits. It can improve mood and cognition, reduce joint and muscle aches, and keep your heart beating long and strong.
Salmon’s pink color is due to a compound called Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells against harmful free radicals.
What’s more, salmon contains Zinc and Vitamin D, two nutrients important for healthy immune function.
Dill has been used since ancient times for easing digestive distress, reducing colic in infants and even as a remedy for bad breath. Fresh dill is good source of vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin A. And like astaxanthin, dill delivers antioxidant protection for your cells.
Some pro tips to get you started
For this salmon recipe, quality counts. Look for a high-quality, “sashimi grade” salmon from a reliable fish market. Please don’t use the vacuum packed frozen salmon that’s in the supermarket! The fish shouldn’t have an overly fishy smell and the flesh should be firm.
Once the salmon is coated with the cure, it’s important to cover and weigh it down with heavier things. This helps press out excess moisture and firms up the fish so that it’s easier to slice. You can use a heavy skillet or load up a baking dish with cans or other heavy things you find around your kitchen.
After 24 hours in the fridge, your salmon should be cured. Unwrap and wipe it with a wet paper towel to get any excess salt mixture off, and then pat it dry. Slice the salmon thinly against the grain with a sharp knife.
Lemon and fresh dill are classic pairings with cured salmon, and they give a fresh, bright taste to the fish. You can serve salmon with the classic bagels and cream cheese. Or, put it in a platter with crackers or crostini and Creamy Mustard Sauce [recipe below].
Now…lets get to the good part!
Homemade Cured Salmon
Want to enjoy restaurant-quality smoked salmon in the comfort of your own home? Look no further than this easy recipe for homemade cured salmon.
PREP TIME 10 minutes
COOK TIME 0 minutes
- 2 pounds sashimi-grade salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup (8 ounces) salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces) sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1 Lemon cut into wedges
- Pat salmon fillets dry and remove any bones
- In a bowl, combine the black pepper, salt, and sugar.
- Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Spread half of the salt mixture on the plastic wrap.
- Place the salmon, skin side down, on the plastic wrap. Top with remaining salt and wrap with plastic wrap.
- Place the salmon in a large, shallow dish. Top with a heavy skillet or flat cutting board topped with a few cans. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
- After 12 hours, remove from the fridge and discard the liquid in the dish. Flip the wrapped salmon, top with the flat cutting board, then top with the heavy object, and refrigerate for 12 more hours. This yields a medium cured salmon. For a harder cure, repeat steps 5 and 6.
- After salmon is cured, unwrap it and wipe it with a wet paper towel and then pat dry.
- Slice the salmon thinly against the grain with a sharp knife. Serve with dill and lemon wedges.
Creamy Mustard Sauce
- ½ cup heavy cream [or half-and-half]
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp chopped dill
- Salt and pepper, to taste.
Blend all ingredients together in a bowl and serve.