Recipe by Melina Hammer
1 1/2 lb king salmon or sockeye salmon filet, pin bones removed
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 cup tender hemlock or spruce tips, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp blk peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
finely grated zest from 2 lemons
finely grated zest from 1 orange
In a small, dry cast iron skillet placed over medium-low heat, toast the coriander seeds until they become fragrant. When they are ready, transfer to a small mortar and pestle and coarsely crush them. Transfer them to a small dish and coarsely grind the peppercorns.
Arrange two lengths of cellophane perpendicular to one another, so that you make an "X". Combine salt, sugar, and pepper in a bowl, and mix to combine. Spoon a generous layer of the salt-sugar mixture in the shape and size of the fish at the center of the X, followed by 1/3 the coriander seeds. Set the fish onto it, skin-side-down.
Sprinkle fir tips, citrus zests, and coriander onto the fish, followed by another generous layer of the salt-sugar mixture. Spoon the salt-sugar mix to coat the sides of the fish so that all surfaces are covered. There may be some of the mixture leftover (save it to go towards your next cure project).
Pull opposite ends of the cellophane to snugly wrap the fish, and repeat with remaining set. It should be a tight parcel, like a swaddled baby. Once the parcel is secure, place it on a small rimmed sheet pan, which will collect juices as the fish cures. Place a few heavy jars or cans on top of the fish to weigh it down, into the refrigerator in this configuration.
After 12 hours, drain any accumulated juices and replace the setup. Repeat this process every 12 hours for 2 days total.
When ready, unwrap the fish, rinse it thoroughly of its cure mixture and pat it dry, and when you are ready to use, slice on a bias very thinly into satiny ribbons. Top salads, bagels or toast, potatoes, rice or beans with cured salmon and enjoy. Keeps for up to 10 days refrigerated.
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