Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nothing fishy about marinated salmon

If you've been lucky enough to have a friend of Scandinavian descent bring gravlax to a party, you know how delicious marinated salmon can be. You may also have thought, "What a lot of work" or "I could never eat that much fish at home." Also, it may be hard to find fresh dill at certain times of the year.

A side of salmon is a pretty party dish, but a bit impractical for a weeknight dinner unless you regularly feed a dozen or so people a sitting.

But marinated salmon can be a blessing when you buy a fillet and find yourself invited out for dinner or an unexpected meeting demands your presence. When you get home, fix the smaller recipe below, and a few days later, slice, add bread and a green salad and you've got a light midweek meal.

First, the original recipe, for a whole side of salmon, filleted, from Trina Hanemann's "The Scandinavian Cookbook" (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008, 224 pages, $30).  My version for a half-pound salmon fillet is below it.

Marinated Salmon 
Serves 20-24

1 orange
1 lemon
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
10 ounces sea salt
1 side of salmon, filleted
For serving:
1 orange
1 lemon
Toasted bread
Green salad

If you have a zester, use it to remove the zest from the orange and the lemon it will look fresh and tasty.  Alternatively, finely grate the zest from the fruit. Mix the zest with the sugar and salt.
Use tweezers to remove any pin bones from the salmon fillet. Spread the zest mixture evenly over the entire surface of the salmon, then wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 days.
After 3 days, take the salmon out of the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and wipe off the marinade with a paper towel. Wrap the salmon in plastic wrap and freeze for 12 hours, then take it out of the freezer and defrost it.
Before it is completely thawed, put the salmon on a board and cut it into thin slices with a very sharp knife. The traditional cutting technique starts diagonally at one corner of the salmon and works toward the center of the fillet.
To serve, remove the zest from the remaining orange and lemon and sprinkle it over the salmon. Serve with toasted bread and a green salad.

Lori K's little marinated salmon
Serves 2

1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 pound salmon fillet
Crusty bread

Zest the lemon; save the fruit. (Wrap it in plastic to keep it from drying out and put it in the refrigerator.)
Combine the sugar and salt in a clean coffee mill and blend until the sugar is superfine. Add to the zest.
Pull out with tweezers any bones left in the fillet. Spread the sugar mixture over the fillet and either put it in a covered glass dish, or wrap in plastic, and put in the refrigerator.
After three days, take it out, wipe off the marinade with a paper towel, rewrap it and put it in the freezer while you're at work. When you come home, take it out of the freezer to defrost. When it is almost defrosted, cut it in thin slices diagonally with a sharp knife and remove them from the skin.
Arrange on plate. Cut the reserved lemon in half, remove the seeds and squeeze over the salmon. Serve with crusty bread and salad.