My brother Tom is in the food biz… he has a company called Food Service University. Among other things, he develops online training programs and content, delivering them on a proprietary learning management system. Thus, he receives a number of food industry publications, both as actual magazines and on-line.
Recently, he sent me a link to a recipe with the subject: “You might find this interesting.”
Recipe: Sake-cured Salmon with Spinach Purée and Yogurt
Chef Daniel Snukal
Restaurant/Operation 3 on Fourth, Santa Monica, Calif.
Menupart Fish and Seafood
Region Asian Fusion
Not being one to resist a challenge, the following Saturday I bought an appropriate piece of salmon at the Farmers Market. I had spinach from my Mariquita Box and was wondering what to do with it. I also have this swell ceramic refrigerator dish in which the salmon (almost) perfectly fit. I rarely use that storage dish, as both the dish and the cover are opaque — can’t see what’s inside — but that’s just fine for this dish.
When I got my mise en place together, I re-read the recipe, looked easy enough… only a few ingredients, then I focused on, “refrigerate 48 hours.” Wow. I’ll have to change my menu plans. I read on and saw another 48 hours. Well, that’ll put off dinner for a while.
I had never made anything like this before, didn’t know what to expect. After the first two days, the salt, sugar and oregano had liquified, apparently drawing liquid out of the fish. I added more salt, the sake and lemon juice as instructed, and after two more days the salmon was quite firm, so it clunked when I dropped it on the cutting board. It had turned a deep and very appetizing salmon color.
I needed something palate calming to go with; a quartered hard boiled egg would be complementary. To complete the meal, I chopped some leftover grilled potatoes and crisped them in butter. Though I’m not a lover of sake, I drank the same sake used for the fish… it seemed appropriate.
That was a fine meal; the salmon salty and rich, the sauces smoothing out each bite. Salmon, sauces, egg, potato; a satisfying little meal. Have a sip of sake and repeat. Soon enough, the plate was clean. Shall I have a little more? Oh, just a little. Yum
Sake-cured Salmon with Spinach Purée and Yogurt
Yield: 6 servings
1 Skin-on side of salmon (mine was a little over half pound)
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sea salt
1 tablespoons Fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon Freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for garnish
3 ounces Sake
Juice of 1 lemon and rind for garnish
12 ounces Spinach, washed and blanched
2 tablespoons Butter
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons Cream
1. Coat salmon with sugar, 1/3 cup sea salt, oregano and pepper. Loosely cover salmon with plastic wrap; refrigerate 48 hours. Unwrap and coat with remaining sea salt, sake and lemon juice. Cover tightly; refrigerate 48 hours.
2. Purée spinach with butter until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt.
3. Mix yogurt with cream; set aside. Thinly slice lemon rind; set aside.
To serve, rinse salmon; pat dry. Slice crosswise into 1/8-in. slices. Divide slices along one side of 6 plates. On other side, add dollops of spinach and yogurt. Garnish salmon with lemon rind and pepper.