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.