How to cure salmon

How to cure salmon

How to cure salmon

8 December 2014

How to cure salmon

Curing is used as a way of preserving meat or fish to prevent spoilage. This technique of curing salmon uses a dry cure which draws out the liquid from the fish as well as add flavour like Galton Blackiston's gravadlax of salmon with lime sorbet. An alternative method can use an acidic marinade that 'cooks' the fish like Gary Jones's ceviche of scallop and tuna, Seville orange and fennel.

Make a curing mix by combining equal parts salt and sugar in a bowl, these will need to be in large enough quantities to completely cover the fish
Add your chosen flavourings, crushing any whole dry spices first in a pestle and mortar first
Place the salmon in a shallow dish and generously cover with the dry cure, rubbing it all over the top, bottom and sides of the fish
Cover with cling film and transfer to the fridge to cure for anywhere between 1–24 hours, depending on how strong a cure your would like
Remove from the fridge and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper. The salmon can be eaten as it is, poached, grilled or baked


There are a huge variety of flavours and ingredients than can be used to cure salmon. Citrus flavours work very well meaning you could add lemon, orange or lime zest to the cure mixture. Spices such as fennel, coriander or anise can be crushed and added to the rub, while dill is a favourite herb pairing with salmon.

Wet cures can also be used by mixing the salt, sugar and any herbs or spices with a liquid for added flavour. Spirits such as gin or vodka are popular and these often work well with citrus flavours giving a refreshing taste. Whisky has a slightly stronger flavour and adds a more robust finish to the fish, while beetroot juice adds a wonderful earthy sweetness and vibrant pink colour to the finished salmon.

The curing time is wholly dependent on the desired strength of the cure and the size of the fish used. If planning to cook the salmon after curing, it may only need an hour or so to impart flavour, whereas for gravadlax or ceviche, a longer cure is often used to give a stronger flavour and to partly cook the fish.


The cured salmon could be sliced thinly as a gravadlax or chopped to form a ceviche. Served on their own these make elegant starters or could form part of a canapé or larger dish.

If curing individual fillets, these could be cooked in the same way as conventional salmon, either by poaching, grilling, frying or baking. The cure will impart wonderful flavour to the finished dish.

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