Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cured Salmon - Charcutepalooza Challenge 2

The second challenge in the Charcutepalooza competition was a further exploration of the salt cure.  I had my heart set on a pancetta and guanciale from the Ossabaw Island Hog that I have ready to go.  Fortunately for Sauage (the Pig) and unfortunately for Mrs. Wheelbarrow, the hog was given a stay of execution due to extensive business travel on my part.

Freddy & Daphne (That's right - Scooby Doo)
Of course this isn't a picture of Sausage, rather Daphne, who is one of our breeders for the Ossabaws.  (Sausage didn't care for a photo in January).  So after a long day at work I stopped and purchased a package of Steelhead Salmon for dinner and reserved a fillet for curing (OMG - Farmer John actually bought animal protein- no no no).  This leads us to the Salmon masterpiece for the Charcutepalooza challenge.  

Salmon & cure mixture
One of the tips I picked up from Charcuterie was adjusting the proportion of salt and sugar.  I've made Gravalox several times in the past where I've used a 50/50 mix of salt and sugar, but Michael & Brian have a much higher sugar content in their salmon cure.  The result is that more of the salmon flavor comes out in the final product.  I'm also terribly allergic to brandy, which is traditionally used and a light whiskey is a reasonable substitute.  Here's the final recipe that I used:

6 oz Kosher Salt
7 oz Table Sugar (Sucrose)
6 oz Brown Sugar
2 TBS Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
1 TBS Fennel Seed
1 TBS Dill Weed 
1/2 cup Canadian Club Whiskey
2 to 4 pound Salmon Filet

Salmon with Curing Mix
Rinse the Salmon with water and pat dry.  Mix the other ingredients in bowl with fork until pasty.  Slather all surfaces of Salmon with cure mix & cover with Saran Wrap.  Add weight on top of salmon and refrigerate for five to seven days, turning salmon every one to two days.  After curing, rinse with water, pat dry and slice thin for serving.  Can be stored in refrigerator for several weeks.

Weight on Salmon

After weighting, the salmon will release liquid into the cure mix, which is part of the osmosis process involved in curing and the compression from the added weight.  The net result is that liquid is added to the pan, which can spill over.  That's why the whole contraption is placed on a cookie sheet.

After curing, the salmon can be cut into thin slices and served with crackers, bagels, and of course displayed in mouth watering shots like the one below.

Mouth watering display of cured salmon and goose prosciutto
Did I mention that the salmon is mouth watering - and yummy to boot?

Cured Salmon - Charcutepalooza Challenge 2 on Punk Domestics

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