Curing with salt, sugar, and dill is one of the most traditional methods for making cured salmon. It’s a tried-and-true technique you can’t go wrong with as long as you use fresh salmon. In the recipe following, I pair this salmon with crème fraîche and some traditional accents on toast — but I encourage you to use your imagination. It can make its way into omelets, top bagels or eggs Benedict, or be plainly sliced onto a charcuterie platter. It’s an extremely versatile ingredient. You can also use this same process with other fish, such as trout or bass.
Yield: Serves 10 to 12 when used as part of other recipes
- 1 cup (300 g) kosher salt
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- Two 24-ounce (680 g) salmon fillets, bones removed as needed
- 2 bunches fresh dill, roughly chopped
- In a small bowl, stir together the salt and sugar until blended. Sprinkle the bottom of an 8 x 12-inch (20 x 30 cm) glass baking dish with a layer of the salt and sugar mixture and a layer of dill. Lightly season the skin side of one salmon fillet with the salt and sugar mixture and place it, skin side down, in the baking dish.
- Aggressively season the flesh side of that fillet with the salt and sugar mixture and spread a handful of dill over the fish. Aggressively season the flesh side of the second fillet and place it on top of the fillet in the dish so that flesh is resting on flesh. Aggressively season the skin side of the exposed salmon and spread the remaining dill over the top.
- Cover the salmon with plastic wrap and place some weights, such as bricks or a couple of large tomato cans resting on a sheet of parchment, on it, pressing the salmon down evenly. Refrigerate. Flip the fish every 12 hours and drain the juices collected each time it’s flipped. Do this four times over a curing period of 48 hours.
- After 48 hours, wipe away any excess salt with a damp cloth and the salmon is ready to eat. When you’re ready to serve it, remove the skin.
Also from Fish: Recipes and Techniques for Freshwater Fish:
- Butchering and Filleting ‘Two Fillet’ Fish
- Cured Salmon with Crème Fraiche, Lemon, and Dill on Toast
- Cilantro and Jalapeño-Cured Pike Recipe
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.