I had this thing about salmon... I only eat raw, smoked or cured salmon but not the cooked salmon. I don't know why... LOL. I think it must be the smell of cooked salmon that seemed unpleasant to my taste. This recipe is frequently demanded by my family when we hosted dinner or lunch with friends. I like to made this when I'm invited to dine with friends. It's always a welcome and never failed to ask for recipe. I love is the Szechuan pepper gave a a subtle tangy/lemony overtones with pleasant tingling sensation in your mouth. The oranges give a sweet and sourish taste which masked the smell of salmon as well... LOL. I wonder if this recipe will work for Hákarl... errrr I don't think so... LOL :-|
Orange-Cured Salmon with Szechuan Pepper
2 nos Fresh Salmon fillets with skin on (cleaned & pinbones removed)
2 tbl Coarse Sea Salt
2 tbl Ground Szechuan pepper
3 tbl Granulated Sugar
2 nos Oranges - sliced thinly into rounds
1. On a clean flat surface - table or kitchen top, unroll a piece of cling wrap, bigger than the fillets. After cleaning & removing pinbones from the salmon fillets, lay a fillet with its skin side down on the cling film/wrap.
2. Mix the dried ingredients in a bowl. Rub the mixture on the fillet, gently rub it in (like massage :-P ) on the surface and the sides. Do the same for the other half of fillet.
3. Arrange the orange rounds nicely on the half fillet on the table. Now, carefully, put the other half of fillet with flesh side on top of it. If you have any left over sliced oranges, arrange on top of the fillets...
3. Now, the tricky part... wrap the cling film over the 2 fillets tightly (but not too tight until the salmon flesh squished). Make sure the ends are wrap or twisted firmly to avoid any side leakage later on. Put the fillets on a tray (large enough to fit the whole fillets) and another tray on top of it. Press it down with a heavy object. Put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight before serving (I preferred the later.)
Note: You can use a wrapped brick as weight or tie up the 2 trays with strings so that the fillets are pressed snugly in between the 2 trays. If you can't find Szechuan pepper, you can use Sansho (sold in little green labelled bottles @ japanese corner or shops) or replace it with grounded black pepper is just as delicious.
4. After the curing is completed, you will see the salmon's flesh shrunk and changed to darker color and the package filled with orange juice. Remove from the fridge (don't forget removing the brick if using one :-D
Remove the Cling Wrap slowly... On a clean cutting board, sliced the cured salmon fillets thinly or the thickness of your choice. I prefer to cut diagonally like cutting sashimi. Arrange nicely on a serving platter, sprinkle with some herbs like dill, chilli flakes, spring onions or minced flat-parsley. Serve as appetiser along with some sliced toasted bread or baguette and lime/lemon wedges. You can serve individual portions with some oranges as decorations as I did... drizzle some mixture of balsamic vinegar-olive oil at the side.
One more thing... If you are using only one fillet, split the curing spices into 2 portions. Keep the other half for later use. Sometimes, when I'm lazy I used sushi grade salmon fillet without skin (actually I preferred this way - no wastage.) For this, I will use only 1 orange and arranged sliced oranges around the fillet because it's a small chunk and cured the same way in the fridge. The same if you use 2 small salmon fillets. Just adjust the curing spices accordingly and stack the pieces together.