Sunday, May 5, 2013

The King is Unwell and He Needs Cure





Hello people, it's the King season and I have several new projects coming. By the time the King season is over, I might have to take another mortgage on my apartment to pay all the King's bills, but I will worry about it later. Right now I am preoccupied with my new hobby.

I am curing my own salmon. In massive quantities. The family cannot catch-up with my cured salmon production, and soon we will have to have a party to reduce our inventory. So that I can make some more.

I decided that the traditional cure is so passe. I am taking new directions here. If one desires a whole new smoky quality, one needs to think tea, not dill. And some other spices maybe? We do not aim to produce a flavored salmon product here, we just want a touch of new kind of smokiness, with a hint of spice around it. Barely noticeable. Since Three Little Halves is a serious kitchen, we are talking some serious teas, like Lapsang or Earl Grey. Dr. V, bless his heart, is completely oblivious to the price of King salmon and the price of designer teas, and offers continuous, wholehearted support for my little passion, especially after I produce Early Grey Cured Salmon with Vanilla Mayonaise, and Lapsang Souchong Cured King Salmon with Ginger Lime Cream Cheese. And I will make sure he never sees the bills, so that I can do this all over again when 2014 King arrives. Until then, coho is still around and organic is becoming increasingly available, and they might be unwell too.






Lapsang Souchong Cured King Salmon with Ginger Lime Cream Cheese

The fish royalty meets the tea royalty in a smoky, peppery cure. I co-designed the cream cheese to go with it with several great food52 minds, and you can read all about it here.

For the Salmon

* 1 1/2 pound king salmon filet
* 1/2 cup Lapsang Souchong loose leaf tea, crushed into fine powder (or content of about 15 tea bags)
* 1/2 cups kosher salt
* 1/4 cups Turbinado sugar
* 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
* 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
* 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder



For the Cream Cheese 

* 6-8 ounces cream cheese
* 4 tablespoons sour cream
* Zest of one lime
* 1 tablespoon grated ginger 



1. Remove the pinbones and scales from the salmon. Leave the skin on. Wash the salmon and pat dry.
 

2. In a small bowl, mix the tea, salt, sugar and spices. Line a large, non-reactive dish with plastic wrap. 

3. Pour one third of the cure mixture on the bottom of the dish. Lay the salmon skin-side down, and coat evenly with the remaining cure mixture. Fold the edges of the plastic wrap and wrap the salmon tightly. Weight the salmon down with something heavy (I use a cast iron casserole filled with a 5lb flour bag). Cure in the refrigerator for three to five days.
 

4. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and carefully rinse off the cure mixture with cold water. Pat the salmon dry.
 

5. Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator to soften at room temperature. With a fork, mix the cream cheese well until smooth and fluffy. Add the sour cream one-tablespoon at time and keep on mixing. Add the lime zest and ginger and mix well until fully incorporated.
 

6. With a sharp knife, slice the salmon crosswise off the skin. Serve with fresh bread, cream cheese and some Sriracha sauce on the side. 






Earl Grey Cured Salmon with Vanilla Mayonnaise

Bergamot and vanilla, it cannot get better than that. And yes, salmon and vanilla mayonnaise is my take on Heston Blumenthal’s celebrated dish, although I was never fortunate enough to try it. But, one can always hope...


* 1 1/2 pound salmon filet, with skin on
* 1/2 cup Earl Grey loose leaf tea, crushed into fine powder
* 1/2 cups kosher salt
* 1/4 cups turbinado sugar

* 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
* 1-2 tablespoon creme fraiche
* 1/2 vanilla bean
* A couple of drops of lemon juice (if needed)
* 2-3 tablespoons grapefruit tears/cells



1. Wash the salmon and pat dry.
 

2. In a small bowl, mix the tea, salt, sugar and pepper.
 

3. Line a large, non-reactive dish with plastic wrap. Pour one third of the cure mixture on the bottom of the dish. Lay the salmon skin-side down, and coat evenly with the remaining cure mixture. Fold the edges of the plastic wrap and wrap the salmon tightly. Weight the salmon down with something heavy (I used a cast iron casserole filled with a 5lb flour bag). Cure in the refrigerator for three days.
 

4. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and carefully rinse off the cure mixture with cold water. (Even after a careful wash the traces of the cure will remain, and that’'s ok, it will look pretty when you serve. But if you really take an issue with black speckles, use whole tea leaves without crushing them into powder.) Pat the salmon dry.
 

5. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds carefully. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, creme fraiche and vanilla seeds. (Use mayonnaise that has a hint of lemon flavor. If not, add 2-3 drops of lemon juice. Make sure you do not overdo it.)
 

6. With a sharp knife, slice the salmon crosswise off the skin. Serve each slice with a tiny drop of mayonnaise and a couple of grapefruit tears.

2 comments :

  1. I am loving your blog!! Beautiful stories accompanied with vivid photographs and drawings. I meditate while reading your recipes, as they always awake only happy memories and transport me to that peaceful place in my mind :-)

    ReplyDelete