Mint-Cured Salmon Pasta
(Serves 4, plus leftovers for Monday night)
To serve this as Sunday Supper, you'll have to start the salmon preparation on Friday
evening. The salmon takes 2 days to cure before it's ready to use. One salmon filet is
enough for Sunday Supper for 4 people plus some leftover for Monday night dinner. Use the
cured salmon by Tuesday at the latest because it is quite perishable.
Start on Friday evening:
1 large salmon filet bones and skin removed and the dark meat trimmed away
1/3 cup coarse sea salt
1 TBS sugar
- Mix together the salt and sugar in a small bowl.
- Lay out one large piece of plastic wrap and lay salmon filet on it.
- Sprinkle each side of the filet with the salt and sugar mixture. Wrap tightly in plastic
wrap and then wrap in aluminum foil. Put on a flat plate and refrigerate overnight. (The
sugar/salt mixture will extract water from the salmon, so be sure to put it on a large
plate to catch the juices.)
Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and unwrap it. (The salmon will be very
leathery and hard. Don't worry.) Then:
- Shake the coarse salt that didn't dissolve overnight off both sides of the salmon.
- Finely chop a handful of fresh mint leaves and the zest of one large lemon. Mix together
and sprinkle on both sides of the salmon and then sprinkle each side of salmon with 1 tsp
- Rewrap the salmon filet and put on a baking sheet or other flat-bottomed container. Put
a very heavy weight on top of the well-wrapped salmon. (I use a 10-lb. cobblestone from
the garden. A few bricks would also do nicely.)
- Put the weighted salmon back in the refrigerator and let cure until Sunday night.
Making Sunday Supper:
- Scrub skin off small carrots and cook in a little water, butter and sugar. Let carrots
cook uncovered so the water evaporates and the carrots begin to glaze from the remaining
butter and sugar. Spring Variation
- Peel, seed and chop 3 fresh tomatoes. Cook lightly in a light olive oil.
- Unwrap salmon and slice about ½ the filet into very thin slices.
- Cook very thin pasta (preferably home made). Drain pasta and return it to cooking pot
and add 2-3 TBS chopped fresh dill and 1 cup milk (cream is even better if you dare!).
Heat, stirring frequently until milk (cream) starts to thicken.
- Off heat, stir carrots into the pasta. Put pasta in your bouillabaisse bowl and arrange cured salmon on top.
- Spring Variation: If you make this dish in the
spring, you can also add lightly steamed asparagus tips or baby green beans that are
rolled in a lightly garlic flavored olive oil.
- Serving: Don't let the salmon "cook" on the hot
pasta. The salmon is raw and cured. It will begin to cook a bit from the heat of the pasta
underneath. That's fine. But you shouldn't stir the salmon into the pasta because it will
overcook and you'll lose the effect of the raw, cured salmon.