Crudo. Raw. Rather than cooking, this fish is transformed by a highly concentrated salt brine and a large surface area to volume ratio, which allows it to cure quickly all the way through, concentrating flavor and firming up texture.
I’ll be honest, this fish shines on its own. Glowing and translucent, a jewel like this doesn’t really need any dressing up, though it does make a solid and versatile foundation for a composed dish.
How quickly does it cure? Three minutes! So this preparation requires careful attention to timing. Too long in the brine or the finishing acid and it becomes over-“cooked” (literally denaturing and coagulating proteins), so keep to the instructed brining time and add the lemon juice right before serving.
I serve the dish here with a toasted baguette, whipped horseradish cream, an arugula salad with tomatoes, shallots, and champagne vinaigrette, and a shaving of homemade salmon katsuobushi (cured with salt, smoke, and miso, then dried for three months; more on that in another post), but the presentation options are endless.
You could sprinkle with black salt, or roll the pieces in a Japanese furikake mix (comprised of sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt, and MSG). Maybe drape the crudo over crunchy lemon granita or a quenelle of smooth lemon sorbet.
We’re just getting started here. How would you serve it?
QUICK CURED SALMON CRUDO
Adapted from ChefSteps
Note: Because the quick cure is a pickling that can be considered cooking in regards to Shabbos (d’Rabbanan; in the realm of d’Orayta, pickling’s equivalence to cooking applies only to kosher rules), I do the cure before Shabbos, store in an airtight container in the fridge (don’t keep more than a day), and brush on the lemon juice mixture just before serving.
- Salmon (as fresh as possible)
- Salt (14% of water, by weight)
- Sugar (10% of water, by weight)
- Fresh lemon juice
- Pour however much water you want to use for the brine and weigh it — I use grams. Multiply that by 0.14 for how much salt to add, and by 0.1 for how much sugar. (For example, a quart of water is 946 grams, which would need 132.44 g salt and 94.6 g sugar.) Whisk or blend to dissolve.
- Slice salmon into small but thick slices (about 8 grams each) and submerge them in the brine for three minutes (no longer! With such a strong cure, a few minutes too long will quickly overdo things). Remove and pat dry. At this point you can store the cured salmon as directed above.
- Reserve some brine and combine with a quarter as much lemon juice (e.g., for 240 g of brine, add 60 g of lemon juice) and reserve.
- Just before serving, brush/mist lemon juice mixture on fish. Serve immediately.
HORSERADISH WHIPPED CREAM
- 50g fresh horseradish root, washed, peeled, and Microplaned or grated
- 350g heavy cream (for parve, use canned coconut cream or cashew cream made by blending 1 cup cashews and 1/2 cup hot water)
- 3.2 g kosher salt
- 0.3 g xanthan gum (optional)
- White wine vinegar
- Add grated horseradish to cream and stir. Cover and refrigerate for 1–24 hours – the longer the infusion time, the more intensely sharp the cream will be.
- Strain out solids. Whisk or blend in 3.2 g salt, 0.3 g xanthan gum, and a splash of white wine vinegar. Refrigerate and whip in whipping siphon or mixer.