Anywhosers, I was reading the NY Times and I came across this recipe for Brown Sugar-Cured Salmon that looked so simple and good. It was a recipe from Betty Fussell, one of the last great food writers of her era who can get away with honestly writing about the beauty of food without having to bore us half to death with the glories of einkorn or some other obscure ingredient just to prove they know something.
This salmon is a perfect example, it is simple, straightforward food that is neither boring nor fussy. It sounds super complicated but its not. It requires eight ingredients, two steps, and and a little waiting time. Here’s how it goes.
First, the salmon gets a good rub down with a cure of brown sugar, salt and spices. Betty used allspice and mace but I used chipotle chili powder for a hint of heat. I also used a little lime zest, ’cause you know, lime zest.
Then you let that sit for at least 4 hours or up to overnight. The salt kind of cooks the salmon as it sits and intensifies its flavor. It firms up the flesh and looks like this.
After the salmon has cured you want to rinse some of that rub off otherwise it will be too sweet then grill it with a mixture of charcoal and hickory chips which add a hint of smokiness. I have been sitting on a bag of hickory chips for over a year now and haven’t used them because I thought it would be too complicated. But this recipe has you soak them for 30 minutes then drain them and toss them right on top of the hot charcoal—that’s it! But make sure you close the lid to your grill to trap in the smoke and also keep it out of your face. Serve with a garlicky greens and baguette for a light dinner or enjoy it as I did, as a snack, with a squeeze of lime.