I have cured salmon before, but one day when we were at a robotics competition I saw someone curing salmon with beets. Sorry! No one was curing salmon at the robotics competition, but staying in a hotel is the only time I can watch the Food Network since we don't have any television stations at home!
Now I can't remember who it was or what show it was on, but I loved the resulting color. So, I decided to give it a try myself. I simply adapted a previous salmon curing recipe that I love.
- 1 C coarse sea salt
- 1 C raw turbinado sugar
- 1 t ground black pepper
- 1 organic beet, finely grated
- 3 springs fresh thyme
- aquavit (a Scandinavian alcohol flavored with caraway seeds and star anise)
- 2 pieces of wild-caught salmon, well matched in size and shape, if possible
Mix the salt, sugar, pepper, and beets together. Divide into thirds. Spoon a third of the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and place one of the salmon pieces on top of it, skin-side down. Drizzle the salmon with aquavit and place fresh thyme on the fish. Mound another third of the salt-sugar-beet mixture onto the fish and place the other fillet on top. Finish by spooning the remaining salt-sugar-beet mixture over the top.
Wrap the salmon tightly with the plastic wrap. And place it in a glass container because it will weep through the duration of the curing process. Every twelve hours, flip the salmon. Do this for 2 to 3 days. The longer you let it cure, the more firm the fish will be.
Before serving, rinse the salt-sugar off with aquavit and cut as thinly as possible.