Salutations and salmon
We’ve really missed you and we’re sorry we’ve been away so long. Its been almost 8 months since the last innBrooklyn post and it has been a time of upheaval for both Noerah and I — changes both good and bad — but now we are settling into our new routines and ready to start posting again (though we cannot promise to be quite as prolific). Welcome back, us!
For my birthday last year I was given The New Brooklyn Cookbook – a wonderful book that entices one to eat out at each of the 31 featured restaurants but compels one equally to stay home and cook their food for yourself. I have done both and am thoroughly enjoying working my way through the volume.
The first recipe I tried was Applewood’s ‘Coriander-Cured Wild Salmon’. I had not made gravlax before – somehow the description of the process always sounded too good to be true and I pictured myself wrestling with a large wild fillet and landing up with nothing but food poisoning for my pains. Fear not piscine adventurers: the process is exactly as simple as it sounds — the essence of the method is to cover the fish with a salt/sugar/spice mix, wrap it tightly in clingwrap and allow it some time in the fridge to cure, then rinse, slice and enjoy! The end result is similar to smoked salmon but with notes of citrus and heat from the coriander, balanced by the less pronounced flavors of the pepper, garlic and bay leaves. Because this recipe is all about the salmon it really pays to buy a piece of quality fish (and don’t forget to choose sustainable seafood: more on that here)
The recipe calls for serving this on a bed of pickled corn and pea shoot salad and I am definitely going to try that soon (pea shoot season is just around the corner) but for now I’m eating it on a slice of fresh bread with a generous dollop of creme fraiche and nothing else!
Coriander-cured wild salmon from Applewood restaurant via The New Brooklyn Cookbook
** the quantities given in the book make enough spice mix for about 12lbs of fish… I have adjusted the recipe to make one 2lb fillet**
- 3 Tbs whole coriander seed
- 1 Tbs whole black peppercorns
- 3/4 cup coarse salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 bay leaves, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 oz spicy bush basil or italian basil (I just used dried basil)
- One sockeye or coho salmon fillet, about 2lbs, skin on, pin bones removed
Combine the coriander seed and peppercorns in a large skillet over low heat. Toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then grind them to a powder in a spice grinder (or with a mortar and pestle)
In a medium bowl, make a curing mixture by combining the ground spices, salt, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and basil. Lay the salmon fillet skin side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Coat the fish generously with the curing mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Rinse the fish well, pat dry, wrap in plastic wrap and store, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.