Everyone seems to love this cured fish dish from Sweden but no one ever seems to make it at home no matter how easy it is. Although Alton Brown usually cures a whole fish, you could cure as little as a single fillet if you'd like.
THE CURE FOR AN 8-10 POUND FISH (AMOUNTS DEPEND ON THE SIZE OF THE FISH OF COURSE)
- 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tablespoons juniper berries, coarsely cracked
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- Wide, heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Plastic wrap
- 2 small mixing bowls
- 2 sheet pans or boards long enough to hold fish
- Clean pair of needle nose pliers
- Really big knife (if you plan on breaking the fish down yourself. If you don't want to your fishmonger will be happy to. If not, get a new fishmonger.)
- About 5 pounds worth of weight
- Mix salt and sugar in one bowl and the spices in another.
- Lay out a sheet of foil several inches longer than the sides or fillets of salmon. Top this with plastic wrap. Position the salmon sides on the plastic wrap so that they are mirror images of each other. Pat them dry with paper towels. Strew the dill along each of the sides, concentrating it where the meat is the thickest.
- Sprinkle the spice mix on top of the dill, again concentrating it where the meat is thickest; you don't have to use all the mixture. Sprinkle on enough of the salt/sugar mix so that you don't see any of the fish.
- Lift the foil corners furthest from you so that the far salmon side rolls over onto the other one. Seal the plastic wrap around the fish, and then crimp the foil so that the folded part runs along the back of the fish (or where the back used to be.) Place this wrapped fish on one of the pans (or boards) and top it with the other.
- Place this rig in the bottom of the refrigerator, or better yet, a cooler containing several inches of ice in the bottom. Flip the fish every 12 hours for 3 days. (I usually duct tape the pans or boards together for easy flipping.)
- Remove fish from its cocoon. Drain, rinse and pat it dry. Slice on the bias as thin as possible cutting the piece away from the skin. The colder you can keep the fish during carving the better.
- 7. Serve on bagels with cream cheese and capers.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.