Lime-Cilantro Cured Gravlax
Gravlax is cured raw salmon. It's safer than sushi because the salt preserves the fish while the acid helps to cook it somewhat. It also packs more flavor yet still maintains a delicacy. This recipe is gravlax with a bandito attitude! Serve this on mini bagels or bread crisps with chipotle cream cheese and pickled red onions.
The Lime-Cilantro Cure
Yield: 1 1/4 cups
1/3 cup turbinado or light brown sugar
1/3 cup coarse-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons grated lime zest (from 2 or 3 limes)
1 teaspoon serrano chile, seeded and diced (optional)
1 tablespoon ground ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
1/2 cup fresh ginger, unpeeled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
2 (1 pound each) center-cut wild salmon fillets, including skin (I like Alaskan Sockeye)
2 tablespoons tequila
To make the cure, combine the sugar, salt, lime zest, serrano chile, ancho powder, coriander, ginger and cilantro in a nonreactive bowl and reserve. Stored in a clean, airtight jar, it will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.
To prepare the salmon, rinse it briefly under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. With a pair of tweezers, remove any small pin bones that run up the center. Lay the salmon fillets on top of one another a cutting surface, skin facing out, and trim evenly so they fit together. Next, lay the salmon skin side down in a large ceramic or glass baking dish that will accomodate both fillets.
Sprinkle each fillet with 1 tablespoon of tequila. Spread the cure evenly on both salmon fillets. Lay the salmon fillets on top of one another once more, skin facing out. Wrap the salmon airtight in several layers of plastic wrap, place in a baking dish, and weight it down with another baking dish weighted down with plates or heavy cans. It's important that even pressure and weight is applied in this process. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning approximately every 12 hours and keeping the weight maintained.
To serve, unwrap the salmon and slice it very thin on a bias.
*Recipe by Jim Tarantino: Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures & Glazes