As the best salmon of the year starts flooding into our market, look into cooking different types of salmon in different ways.
Larger, fattier filets from bigger Yukon and Copper River salmon can be portioned and grilled, and smaller filets can be kept whole, trimmed, and then cured—a process that is sure to thrill the bagel and bialy lover in all of you. Once you have a cured piece of salmon in your house, it can be sliced and served in the morning with scrambled eggs and crème fraîche, as a sandwich stalwart, in a salad, as part of a warm-weather "cold" dinner, or out on a buffet for friends to nosh on.
Gravlax . . . Juniper-and Dill–Cured Salmon
3-1/2 lb. side of fresh salmon . . . Get the freshest product you can find.
Have pin bones removed and trim off the last 3 in. of the tail and about
1 in. of the belly piece to create a uniformly thick 3 lb. filet.
10 T. sea salt
7 T. brown sugar
1 T. crushed juniper
Zest of 1 lemon
1 crushed, dried red chile
1 T. crushed coriander seed
1/4 c. minced, fresh shallot
2/3 c. minced, fresh dill
1/2 c. minced, fresh parsley
2 oz. gin
Combine all the ingredients except the salmon and set aside.
Lay the salmon skin-down in a nonreactive pan and cover with the herb paste, patting it on evenly over the entire length of the fish. Wrap the pan with plastic wrap and place on a level shelf in the fridge for 48 hours.
Remove salmon from the pan, discard any liquids that have accumulated, gently wipe the paste from the fish with a damp rag, and discard the paste. Wrap salmon in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours to “rest."
Unwrap fish and slice on a 45-degree angle in thin slices, then serve with herbed crème fraîche, lemon wedges, and buttered toast.