Cured Salmon with Homemade Cream Cheese
The flavor of cured salmon can be enhanced by the choice of curing ingredients. While sugar and salt are crucial to the curing process, adding different herbs and spices will heighten and change the flavor. Homemade cream cheese is the perfect accompaniment.
Yields approximately 12 servings.
- 1 (3 to 4 pound) salmon filet, fatty belly trimmed and bones removed
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest, grated
- 2 tablespoons orange zest, grated
- 4 ounces fresh dill, washed and roughly chopped
- 3 ounces gin or flavored vodka
- Slice salmon fillet in half crosswise and place one half skin side down on top of a piece of plastic wrap at least twice its size. In a bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, sugar, coriander and zest.
- Spread half of this mixture over the salmon and place the dill on top. Spread the remaining salt sugar mixture over the other salmon half. Pour the gin over the dill.
- Place the other salmon half flesh side down to sandwich the herbs and seasonings. Fold the ends of the plastic tightly over the salmon and place the salmon in a rectangular pan.
- Place a large dish on top of the salmon and add a few canned foods on top of the dish to weigh down the salmon.
- Refrigerate the salmon for three days turning the salmon every 12 hours. Remember to replace the dish of weights each time. This will ensure even curing of the salmon.
- To serve, remove salmon from the plastic and scrape away the herbs and zest. Pat the salmon dry and slice on the bias across the fillet into paper thin slices. Leave the skin on the fillet.
Homemade Cream Cheese
- 2 cups milk
- 6 cups heavy cream
- 4 drops vegetable rennet
- 1/4 teaspoon mesophilic acid (cheese culture)
- 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- Combine milk and cream in a pot over medium heat. Stir gently and heat to 75 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the mesophilic acid over the surface.
- After a few minutes, stir the acid into the milk with a few strokes then return to the heat and cook until 85 degrees F. Turn off heat, stir rennet and pour into a large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees) for 24 hours or until the milk has thickened. If you tilt the bowl slightly, the milk will look like yogurt on the surface and you should see the cloudy whey underneath.
- Line a colander set over a bowl with 3 layers of cheesecloth (a kitchen towel may also be used). Carefully pour the milk into the cloth lined colander. Pull the ends of the cheesecloth up into a bundle and tie a knot. Slip a large spoon through the knot and suspend the cheesecloth bag above the bowl to allow the whey to drain.
- Drain the cheese at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Scrape the cheese from the cheesecloth into a clean bowl and stir in the salt to taste. Refrigerate the cream cheese in an air tight container for up to one week.
Yields approximately 1 quart.
At Metropolitan Café, we serve the cured salmon with our cream cheese and a salad of thinly sliced cucumbers and red onion dressed with extra virgin olive, salt and fresh herbs such as flat leaf parsley, dill and coriander. This is accompanied by a toasted bagel either seeded or plain.
You don't have to be a master baker like Metropolitan's James Barrett to make delicious French-inspired delights at home. Here are several favorites—some savory, some sweet—adapted by James for the home chef.