Today we are going to make some cured salmon! I know that you will tell me : “but this is not French”, well…. yes and no. I never made my own cured salmon in France mostly because I could buy it and it was not very expensive. If there is one thing I noticed here compared to France it’s that smoked salmon or cured salmon isn’t as popular as in France. Smoked salmon is part of our everyday or fancy meals and is never found frozen. I used to eat smoked salmon mostly for dinner with a soup or a salad, or on toasted bread for Christmas. Smoked salmon is also perfect for any recipe, some of the most popular in France are smoked salmon pasta or quiche.
I have always been so used to smoked salmon that I was shocked to discover that here it wasn’t something popular. Smoked salmon in Canada is always found frozen and can be quite expensive for a small quantity. So I thought that maybe I could find a solution to save some money. Cured salmon is not exactly the same as smoked salmon, obviously, but the texture and the flavor are similar. I know you may think that this must be hard to make but actually not really, BUT it requires some patience. Do I really save money in the end? I think so because a whole salmon filet is about 15$ to 23$ CAD, and the rest of the spices are things that are not expensive. I don’t know how many slices I get in the end, but I get A LOT ( depending if you like thin slices or not).
So today, I will show you all the steps to make a delicious cured salmon!
- Salmon fillet with skin on, deboned
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
1- In a bowl, add the salt, sugar, pepper, cumin, nutmeg and dill and mix well. I like to cut my dill in advance in order to let it dry as much as possible as the salt will soak up any moisture. You can use dry dill if it is easier for you. Reserve on the side.
2- The first thing I like to do is to check that there are no bones left just in case. Then I cut the thinnest parts of the salmon, mostly the tail and sides as they will be too salty otherwise. See the picture below:
3- After trimming the salmon, spread a large sheet of surround wrap and spread half of the mixture of salt sugar and spices on it. Spread it so it fits the width and length of your salmon fillet. Place the salmon, skin at the bottom, on top of the mixture. See pictures below:
4- Once you placed the salmon, spread the other half of the mixture on top. Make sure all the salmon fillet is covered.
5- Wrap your salmon by folding the sides (length) first, then fold the other sides. Make sure there is no air bubbles left inside the wrap. Place it on a plate, skin at the bottom. Place it in your fridge for 3 days.
6- Because of the salt, the water will evacuate from the salmon so you have to empty your wrap of the water each time you see any. The process is to flip your salmon filet every 12h, this will allow you to remove the water, and also allow the salt to soak in your entire salmon fillet.
7- After 3 days, rinse your salmon under cold water. Make sure all the mixture went away. Dry well in paper towels.
8- At that stage, you can remove the skin if you want or leave it on. Brush your salmon with a little bit of olive oil and add some finely chopped dill to taste. Cover with some surround wrap and allow to rest for a full day in your fridge.
Then enjoy on top on fresh toasts or bread with some cream cheese or some dill mustard sauce (the one from IKEA goes really well with it). Cured salmon can be used for so many types of dishes, for example you can make some salmon pasta with it, make sandwiches, wraps or even add it to a salad. I like to freeze some and re-use it for some dishes.
I hope you will enjoy this recipe!