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Curing Salmon

Curing salmon at home is easy, healthy and tastes great, why aren't you doing it? Check below for the recipe and story.

The Recipe (Basic Cure)

Atlantic Salmon

50:50 mix of Kosher Salt and Sugar for the Cure

Any seasoning you'd like to flavor with.

Salt/Sugar Mix should be 50% of the weight of your salmon, i.e. 3lbs Salmon to 1.5lbs of Cure.

Cure Guide

24 hours for light cure

36 hours for medium cure (the sweet spot)

48+ hours for heavy cure

Mix together the 50:50 mix of cure, if possible use a scale instead of a measuring cup. Not all salts and sugars have the same weight per volume. If you're adding any seasoning, now is when you want to add it. You can go anywhere, black pepper and orange rind, cilantro and shallots, caraway and lemon, you name it.

Put a third of the cure in the bottom of a non-reactive container that is large enough to hold the salmon. Place the salmon skin side down on top of the cure, use remaining cure to completely cover the salmon. Depending on the length of the cure you may need to drain excess water, rotate or flip the salmon, etc. as it cures over the desired length.

After cure, remove salmon, rinse and dry. Depending on the cure time, it should be good for a week.

The Story

Through the years, between work trips or visiting family, my travels always seem to bring me through NYC every year or so. If we're lucky, we'll take a quick side trip through the city. Somehow the city always is this weird exploratory amalgam of madness, nostalgia, anxiety, and pure bliss, especially when it comes to eating. The New York deli always stands at the forefront as a must-stop on these visits.

Jumping in a cab, with a driver swerving through traffic, eyes on a small smart phone streaming technicolor trance inducing flashes of light sending auditory signals through a set of earphones so loud you can feel the bass and otherworldly rendition of house music in your chest. This cacophony of sound made up of beats, horns, tires squealing and the white noise of the city is something that is wholly unique to the city compared to other American cities. That cab has one stop, and it's a deli.

My NYC relishes this experience. Give me a day, walking between venerable food institutions with good company. Stopping at a new place to shove a few hot soup dumplings in your face. Meandering around a classic architectural feat. Hot summer subway rides. Chasing some killer Halal. Throwing on a suit to have a glass of scotch and a chop at Keen's.

There is one spot that always comes to mind as a gotta-hit in the city and it's Russ & Daughters. After eating breakfast there years back I returned home with a quest to be able to make and cure my own salmon to eat throughout the week. It's a classic breakfast, protein packed lunch or luxurious dinner if you have some creativity with it. Salmon doesn't only belong on bagels.

I've shared my basic recipe and we'll revisit this with future recipes but I also wanted to share a few of the recipes I came across to get me started.

Food & Wine Pastrami Spiced Gravlax

This one is a flavor bomb, it's so good and can be used so many ways. Ideal pairings are with creme fraiche mashed potatoes, or with sauerkraut on rye.

Bon Appetit Citrus Cured Salmon

This is a great extension to the basic cure, it's flavors are subtle which allow it to be used on a fresh bagel, a simple sandwich or as an impressive appetizer course with guests.

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