Beet- and Horseradish-Cured Salmon
This is a good first foray into curing because the process is simple and relatively quick and the reward considerable. Thanks to the beets, the color on the outside of the salmon is a deep, rich fuchsia. And don't be afraid to use fresh horseradish if you can find it; just be careful.
- Serves: 12 persons
- 6ounces horseradish, grated fresh, or prepared, well drained
- 1salmon fillet, about 3 pounds, skin on
- 1pound red beets, raw, peeled and grated, juice included
- 1large bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
- ½cup plus 2 tablespoons/5 ounces granulated sugar
- 1cup plus 2 tablespoons/6 ounces kosher salt (See note.)
- ¼cup/1 ounce cracked black pepper
Step 1If using fresh horseradish, peel, cut into chunks and process in a food processor, using the steel blade. Do not grate it by hand; the fumes will be overpowering. Drape the food processor with a damp towel and carefully crack the lid, under the towel, to absorb the fumes.
Step 2Remove pin bones from salmon and set aside. In a large stainless steel or glass bowl, combine horseradish and remaining ingredients, wearing gloves to avoid turning your hands purple.
Step 3Choose a nonreactive pan that is just large enough to hold the salmon fillet or line a pan with plastic wrap. Drizzle a little of the beet mixture on pan and place the salmon, skin-side down, on top. Cover the flesh with remaining beet mixture, making it thinner on tail and belly section and thicker everywhere else.
Step 4Cover with plastic wrap, place another pan on top, and weight with cans. Cure in refrigerator for 3 days.
Step 5Gently scrape off beet mixture and discard. Cut salmon in thin slices and serve. Whole fillet, well wrapped in plastic, will last 1 week refrigerated.