Cilantro and Jalapeño-Cured Pike Recipe

Use citrus and herbs in your salt cure to give pike or any other lighter-flavored fish a distinct punch. Serve atop tortilla chips for a fresh snack.

| June 2019

Pike photo from Adobe Stock/DeStefano

Curing fish in this fashion is similar to the Salt, Sugar, and Dill–Cured Salmon, but the jalapeños and cilantro here add a distinct punch to the fish. It takes best to a lighter-flavored fish such as pike, but you can experiment with other fish, as you prefer.

Yield: Serves 8 to 12 as a snack

Photo from Adobe Stock/olhaafanasieva


  • 1 cup (300 g) kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
  • 6 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and grated
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, 1 cup (16 g) reserved for garnishing
  • 3 pounds (1.36 kg) skin-off pike fillets, cleaned
  • Tortilla chips, for serving
  • Crème fraîche, for serving
  • Fresh limes, for serving

Photo from Adobe Stock/aamulya


  1. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, sugar, jalapeños, and cilantro.
  2. Sprinkle one-third of the salt, sugar, and herb mixture over the bottom of a glass baking dish large enough to hold the fish comfortably.
  3. Place half the pike fillets, skin-side down, in the dish. Sprinkle the flesh side with the same amount of the salt mixture.
  4. Place the remaining pike fillets, skin-side up, on top of the first half. Sprinkle the remaining salt mixture over the top of the fillets.
  5. Cover the fish directly with plastic wrap and weigh it down with something weighty, but not too heavy — say, a six-pack of beer. Place them in the refrigerator.
  6. Flip and drain the fillets every 12 hours for 48 hours.
  7. Wipe off any excess salt mixture from the fillets.
  8. Remove the skin and thinly slice the pike before serving on tortilla chips topped with crème fraîche, sprinkled with fresh lime juice, and garnished with cilantro.

Also from Fish: Recipes and Techniques for Freshwater Fish:

fish-coverFrom water to table, Fish — author and chef Jonathan Wipfli’s follow-up to Venison — shows you how to responsibly harvest and clean freshwater game fish throughout the seasons, and how to cook them perfectly. Be the star fisher and chef at every dinner and cookout! Written by the author and chef behind a Minneapolis-based catering services company specializing in wild game, Fish takes readers through Jonathan Wipfli's techniques for efficiently processing and cleaning game fish, as well as a raft of 50 contemporary recipes for dishes and accompanying sides. Addressing the most popular freshwater game fish pursued by North American outdoors enthusiasts — including walleye, pike, catfish, trout, salmon, bass, panfish, and more — Fish puts a new foodie-friendly spin on game fish cookery.

Reprinted with permission from Fish: Recipes and Techniques for Freshwater Fish by Jon Wipfli and photography by Colleen Eversman and published by Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc., 2019.



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