Jean-Pierre's Cured Salmon

This has come to be my favorite recipe for cured salmon. It involves curing the fish in plain salt for a few days, and then marinating in a bath of tasty things. I have served this a number of times - as a starter at Bornschlegel family vacation, as the protein element for a summer evening picnic-style supper when it's hot, and most recently, at Mother's Day brunch. I'm sure you can vary the herbs to good effect; i have a bit, but i love coriander so much that it stays my base. This recipe is from The Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook.

Jean-Pierre Moulle, a passionate Frenchman, forager, and fisherman, has been the downstairs restaruant chef for many years. He devised this recipe as a first course for a special wine dinner a few years ago. It was so well loved that we now serve it upstairs as an appetizer.

Servers 8 to 10.

1 side salmon, skin on, 2-3 lbs
1 lb rock salt
1/2 bottle sauvignon blanc
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots, diced fine
2 tbsp thinly sliced chives
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped chervil
2 tbsp white peppercorns, coarsley cracked
3 tbsp whole coriander seeds

The side of slamon will contain little pin bones runnign from the head end about halfway back; they will interfere with slicing later unless removed. They can be easily located with your fingertips and pulled out with small needle-nosed pliers or tweezers. Place the fish in a shallow glass or stainless steel pan, skin side down. Cover the flesh side with rock salt. Refrigerate for at lesat 6 hours, or preferably, overnight. Rinse well, pat dry and return to a shallow pan, this time with the skin side up.

Prepare the marinade. In a glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the wine, olive oil, shallots, and herbs. Pour the marinade over the fish, then cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Strain the marinade through a fine sieve, reserving a few seeds. Taste and correct the seasoning.

Slice the salmon thinly on an angle and arrange a few slices per person on chilled plates. Spoon a little of the marinade over each serving and garnish with fresh herbs and the reserved coriander seeds.

Notes from meriko:
I use kosher salt, about 3/4 inch deep over the salmon. I also used fresh thyme from my garden sometimes instead of chives and no chervil. I have used ground coriander when i had no seeds to good effect. I have kept it in the marinade for up to 3 days.

Posted by shock on May 29, 2003 | TrackBack

that sounds insanely good. I tend to buy most of my salmon at costco, and they have these huuuuuge fillets. what's the difference between that and a 'side'? I like not worrying about pinbones.

Posted by: heather on May 30, 2003 10:02 AM

A "side" is what they cut the filets from... you can just scale down the recipe and use a filet. It's literally a half a salmon, cut long/filet wise, instead of cross-wise into steaks.

Posted by: meriko on May 30, 2003 1:12 PM
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