Cured salmon

Marinated salmon was always served on the 26th of December, when my grandparents celebrated their anniversary with an eggnog party for friends and family. The other dish I remember was a warm crab dip (!).

I’m not certain anymore whether this was the recipe my grandmother Babu used; I don’t remember where it came from exactly — possibly a plastic-protected Elle fiche? — but I’ve had it for nearly 30 years. It has passed the test of time and always receives the highest praise. And it always reminds me of those eggnog parties.

Cured salmon
Note: This recipe must be made 48 hours ahead!
It can be scaled up or down, by adjusting the curing ingredients according to the amount of salmon used.

1 kg salmon fillets with the skin
4 Tbsps coarse grey sea salt
4 Tbsps golden caster sugar
2 tsps crushed black pepper
2 Tbsps oil (I use mild olive oil)
2 large bunches of fresh dill

Wipe the salmon with a paper towel.

Mix the salt, sugar, and black pepper in a small bowl.

Rub the oil all over the salmon, on both sides. Rub the spices into the salmon, also on both sides.

Place a sheet of parchment paper big enough to wrap the whole piece of salmon onto a dish with rim (the salmon will release some liquid as it cures). Spread half of the dill in a thick layer onto the paper and place the salmon on top. Cover with the rest of the dill. Wrap the salmon in the parchment paper. Place a plate or dish on the salmon with a heavy weight on top (full bottles of water or wine work well).

Let the weighted salmon cure in the refrigerator for 48 hours. Turn the fillet over once after 24 hours.

When ready to serve, scrape off the dill and as much pepper as possible.

Slice thinly and serve with crème fraîche and/or prepared horseradish.

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