The technique of curing fatty fish evolved from a pre refrigeration era need to preserve seafood in a safe, flavorful way. The salt in the cure (a mix of salt and sugar in this recipe) draws out moisture, transforming the texture and color of fish. After a few hours or days in the refrigerator, the fish loses 15% of its weight. The condensed flesh takes on a reddish hue and glossy sheen. Danes like to add snaps or aquavit to give the fish a special Scandinavian touch. The salad is made with fennel with an anise taste and passes fint to the cured salmon.
Cured Salmon with Mustard-caper-fennel Salat
1 1/4 cups kosher salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup chopped fenne fronds
1/4 cup of aquavit (or gin)
1 1½ lb. salmon fillet with skin on
1 tbsp. fish mustard
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup corn oil
3 tbsp. capers
1 tbsp. finely chopped onion
½ fennel, cut into very thin slices
½ cucumber, cut into very thin slices
freshly ground pepper
To make salmon, remove all bones. Mix salt, sugar, fennel fronds, and aquavit
(mixture should be like wet sand). Spread half of salt mixture in a deep dish.
Place salmon on top and cover with remaining salt mixture. Cover and
refrigerate 1-2 days. Turn fish over after one day and pour off any liquid
To make mustard-caper-fennel sauce, blend fish mustard, lemon juice and mustard seeds in a food processor. With machine running, slowly add oil in a thin stream and process until emulsified. Stir in capers, onions, fennel and cucumber slices. Season with and pepper.
To serve, cut salmon in thin slices diagonally across the grain an place them on smaller plates or a large serving platter. Arrange salad on top and sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper.