A few months ago, I attended a wonderful workshop at Preserved, where we learned how to cure all sorts of meat. Preserving meat by curing was surprisingly easy! Ever since then, I’ve been trying my newly learnt skills whenever I had a chance.
One of the demonstration that afternoon was a fennel cured salmon, and we got to taste some that were ready (as were all the other ones we learnt to make). The salmon was not further cold smoked after curing. Even though the flavour was lovely, I rather miss the smoky flavour. I haven’t committed to invest in a cold smoker, so when I decided to try my hand at curing salmon, I decided to toast the fennels, and use soy sauce. Soy sauce has that sort of woody, smoky tone, which came from been fermented. The result was so wonderful and drool-inducing, the store-bought cold smoked salmon is no longer an item of desire for us.
Here are the ingredients I used:
- 300g raw salmon (defrosted after being frozen – this kills any parasites that may have been in the salmon)
- 1 orange’s zest
- 1/2 tablespoon toasted fennel seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon marsala powder
- 1/2 tablespoon Sichuan pepper
- 2 tablespoons thick sweet soy sauce
- 40g natural (un-iodised) salt
- 40g brown sugar
Here’s what to do:
- Grind orange zest, toasted fennel seeds, marsala powder and pepper together in a spice grinder.
- Mix the sweet soy sauce with the spices and rub this all over the salmon.
- Combine salt and sugar, then put half of the mix into a plastic box to keep the salmon in.
- Put the salmon on top of salt and sugar with the skin side down if it has skin on.
- Put all the spice paste on top of the salmon in a even layer.
- Put the rest of the salt and sugar on top of the salmon evenly.
- put a layer of cling film over the salmon, squeezing any air out.
- Refrigerate between 1 for 24 hours.
- Press the salmon gently to see if it feels firm all over. You can also scrap a little of the spice paste back and cut off a little to taste test if it’s ready – it is safe to do so.
- If you think it needs more time, leave it for another 24 hours and check again. (Mine was ready after 3 days.)
- Once it’s ready, rinse the salmon with water then pat dry with paper towel.
- To make it easier to slice thinly, freeze until solid, then slice with a very sharp knife. I then layered the slices on waxed paper, before putting in a zip-seal bag. If you make more than you are going to eat in a few days, you can keep the surplus in the freezer.
This recipe doesn’t make a huge amount, and I’m definitely going to triple, or even quadruple, this next time I do it because it disappeared way~~~ too fast this time. As long as you keep the salt the same ratio (critical for the curing/preserving process), you can experiment with your own flavour combination too. Have fun and enjoy!