The Dinner Party Collective – Full Spring Menu and Smoked Salmon Recipe
As Fall settling in the most of the Northern Hemisphere (slowly, I have to admit – it is still very warm and green here in Connecticut), the Spring is coming to the people of Southern Hemisphere, who are I’m sure very happy to forget the cold and embrace the sun. With Spring comes The Dinner Party Collective Spring Menu (if you need more information about The Dinner Party Collective, please see one of my previous posts about TDPC, as we call it for short).
Our Spring Menu had been fully published, and I was very happy to pair all the delicious dishes the wines, as you will see below in the wine pairing suggestions post:
I think all the dishes are absolutely spectacular, and I hope you are all already inviting your friends over for a delicious dinner (and let me know how the wine pairings would work).
This time around, I want to take a liberty to add a little trick, if you will, to one of the dishes on this menu – a Smoked Salmon Salad created by Margot from Gather and Graze. You see, my family loves smoked salmon in any shape and form – on the bagel, in the salad, in the appetizer, anywhere. When you buy smoked salmon from the store, there are couple of issues. First one is the taste and overall quality – sometimes it can be oversalted, dry or even rubbery. Second, the better quality smoked salmon is often quite expensive – Fairway store in Stamford charges $24 – $30 per pound of that smoked salmon. So instead of dealing with uncertain quality and high prices, you can make smoked salmon on your own – it is very easy – and you fully control the flavor profile. That’s right – when making smoked salmon on your own ( and you don’t have to make it taste “smoked” if you don’t like it), you can add any spices – dill, pepper, herbs – anything – and it is really easy to make.
Here is what you will need:
- 3 lb fresh salmon fillet, preferably with the skin (make sure all the pin bones are removed)
- 1 cup kosher salt (Kosher salt without iodine is a must for curing and brining)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (I use “sugar in the raw”)
- pepper – by your taste
- liquid smoke (if you want to make “smoked salmon”)
Above you see everything you need – please note the bottle of Liquid Smoke there – available at most of the supermarkets or you can order it online. Few drops will impart smoke flavor on any dish you are making.
Prepare the mix of kosher salt, brown sugar and pepper – feel free to add any other spices here you would want to use, and mix it all up – I do it right in the measuring glass:
Drain the liquid (as much as you easily can, don’t strain it completely). Technically, salmon is now ready to eat – it is completely cured. From now on, I like to make it “smoked” so I add a few drops of Liquid Smoke all over salmon and around, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for another 12 hours. Important note – the longer you will keep salmon with the salt, the drier and denser it will become, as it will lose more juice.
After 12 hours, your smoked salmon is fully ready – get it out of the fridge, wash it thoroughly to rid of any salt, and lay it to rest on the board – you can keep it there for an hour or even longer. This is how it will look like:
I like to give it even longer rest time if I’m not too hungry, so I would typically wrap it completely into the plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge for a few hours. Salt dries the surface completely, so by letting the salmon rest, it will redistribute the juices so it will become all moist and delicious. Last step – slice and enjoy!
I would typically slice it off the skin as needed, and keep the rest wrapped in the plastic wrap in the fridge. As it is cured, it will last for a pretty long time – between a week and two for sure. It is also very easy to freeze as it is, right in the plastic wrap – and it can be thawed quickly as needed.
There you have it my friends – a simple smoked salmon recipe. Yes, do that at home!
If you will decide to make it – let me know how it will come out. Cheers!