The trouble with cured salmon? We tend to treat it like, well, a treat.
Cured salmon — with all its rich, salty, savory, lusciously fatty goodness — too often is relegated to the breakfast or brunch table, and even then mostly for special occasions. It’s partly a case of association; we think of it as a specialty item not intended for everyday eating. But it’s also a case of cost. Cured (as well as its close cousin, smoked) salmon isn’t cheap.
So we decided to break both those barriers. Let’s start with cost. Gravlax — the Nordic name cured salmon is known by — generally is made by dry-curing fillets of salmon in a blend of sugar, kosher salt, fresh dill and a variety of other seasonings. The process extracts moisture from the flesh of the salmon, producing a smooth, yet meaty texture and a wonderfully salty-sweet flavor.
It’s also ridiculously easy to make. While you pay a premium for ready-to-eat cured salmon, you can make your own for not much more than the cost of the salmon itself. And the only equipment you'll need are a food processor (for making the cure) and a zip-top plastic bag. And obviously you'll want to buy the very best and freshest salmon you can find
Once you have the salmon, it’s as simple as grinding together the curing ingredients, rubbing them on the fish, and refrigerating it. A couple days later, you enjoy cured salmon.
Now let’s talk about that enjoyment. The classic serving suggestion is to accompany thinly sliced cured salmon with rye bread, whole-grain mustard, capers, chopped fresh dill and shaved red onion. But that’s just the start. Cured salmon has all sorts of potential at the dinner table.
Some favorite variations: