1/3 cup coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 1-1/2-pound each center-cut salmon fillets, skin on
2 teaspoons shredded lemon peel
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill, loosely packed (some stems are ok)
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1. For cure mixture, in a bowl combine salt and sugar; set aside. Remove salmon from refrigerator. Scrape off any loose scales. Rinse fish; pat dry. Place skin side up on cutting board. Using a very sharp knife lightly score the skin of each fillet diagonally in a diamond pattern about every 3 inches (do not make deep cuts).
2. With a clean spray bottled filled with water, spray the skin of one fillet to moisten. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the cure mixture, sprinkling lightly on the tail or thin end of the fillet, and sprinkling more heavily on the thicker end. Lightly spray again with water to help mixture stick.
3. Place fillet, skin side down, in a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Spray with water. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of cure mixture, sprinkling lightly on thin end and more heavily on thick end. Sprinkle with lemon peel, dill, and peppercorns.
4. Turn second fillet skin side down. Spray with water. Sprinkle as before with 2 tablespoons cure mixture. Spray again. Turn fillet over; place skin side up on first fillet, tail (thin) end over thicker end. Sprinkle with remaining cure mixture; spray again.
Cover with plastic wrap. Weight with a glass baking dish filled with dried beans, or a heavy plate. Refrigerate. Using two spatulas or your hands, turn fish every 12 hours, spooning liquid in the dish over fish. After 48 hours, remove fish from dish. Separate fillets. With a paper towel carefully wipe away salt mixture or other ingredients.
Transfer fish to a cutting board, skin side down. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the flesh away from the skin at a diagonal, starting at tail end. Salmon should cut easily from skin. Thinly slice flesh. Wrap and store any remaining salmon in refrigerator up to 2 days.
Chill salmon: 48 hours / Prep: 30 minutes
Makes 2-1/2 pounds.
Maple Sage variation:
Substitute 1/4 cup maple sugar or packed brown sugar for the granulated sugar. Substitute 1/2 cup snipped fresh sage for the dill.
Omit lemon peel.
Prepare as directed in recipe. Nutrition Facts per serving: 45 cal., 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 15 mg chol., 783 mg sodium, 1 g carbo., 0 g dietary fiber, 6 g protein. Daily Values: 1% vit. A, 0% vit. C, 2% calcium, 1% iron
Mustard Ginger variation:
Substitute 1 teaspoon crushed mustard seed for the black pepper. Substitute 1/3 cup grated fresh ginger (2 ounces) for the dill. Omit lemon peel. Prepare as directed in recipe.
Servings Per Recipe 2 1/2 pounds Calories 45, Total Fat (g) 2, Saturated Fat (g) 0, Monounsaturated Fat (g) 1, Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1, Cholesterol (mg) 15, Sodium (mg) 783, Carbohydrate (g) 1, Total Sugar (g) 1, Fiber (g) 0, Protein (g) 6, Vitamin C (DV%) 0, Calcium (DV%) 1, Iron (DV%) 1, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet