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Three-Day Brined Lox with Anise-Herb Sauce. Photo © Antonis Achilleos
© Antonis Achilleos

Three-Day Brined Lox with Anise-Herb Sauce

  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR Plus 3 days brining
  • SERVINGS: Makes 2 pounds

Chef Matthew Dillon loves this Nordic method of wet-brining fish (known as len-rimmad lax). He serves it with an herb sauce made from blanched nettles; parsley and mint are easier-to-find substitutes.

Wet-Brined Lox

  1. 2 pounds whole salmon or halibut fillet, with skin
  2. 3 cups cold water
  3. 1/3 cup kosher salt
  4. 1 teaspoon of dill
  5. 1 teaspoon of anise seeds
  6. 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, cracked
  7. 6 sprigs of dill
  8. 6 sprigs of parsley
  9. 6 sprigs of cilantro
  10. 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  11. 1 small shallot, sliced

Herb Sauce

  1. 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  2. 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  3. 2 shallots, minced
  4. 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  5. 1/2 cup chopped mint
  6. 1/2 cup chopped dill
  7. 1/4 cup chopped chervil
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  9. 1 teaspoon anise seeds, toasted and coarsely crushed
  10. 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper
  11. 1 cup grapeseed oil
  12. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  13. Crème fraîche, cornichons, dark bread and grainy mustard
  1. Rinse and dry the fish. Set the fillet in a deep 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the water with the salt until the salt is dissolved, then add the dill seeds, anise seeds, coriander seeds, herb sprigs, garlic and shallot. Pour the brine over the fish and evenly distribute the aromatics. Top the fillet with a sheet of paper towel, pressing gently to moisten the sheet. Wrap the entire dish in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3 days, turning the fish in its brine, topping it with a fresh paper towel and rewrapping in plastic wrap after 36 hours.
  2. Drain and discard the brine and scrape the aromatics off the fish fillet. Place the fillet skin side down on a rack set over a baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered until the surface is mostly dry but slightly tacky, about 2 hours.
  3. In a bowl, combine the lemon juice with the garlic and shallots and let stand for 20 minutes. Stir in the parsley, mint, dill, chervil, lemon zest, anise seeds, Aleppo pepper and oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the fish on a work surface. Using a very sharp, thin-bladed knife, cut the fish crosswise into very thin slices, running the blade horizontally once it reaches the skin to free each slice. Transfer the slices to a platter and serve with the herb sauce, crème fraîche, cornichons, dark bread and mustard.
Make Ahead The lox can be prepared through Step 2, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 4 days.


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