I think I've found my new favorite way of preparing salmon. I might be biased, as I love raw fish, but man, this dish is so incredibly good. I really think it's my new favorite dish for potlucks or dinner parties. It's got all the elements of perfect entertaining food: it's easy to make, relatively inexpensive, can serve quite a few people, and looks stunning when presented.
Oh, did I mention that it tastes absolutely phenomenal? And that it's a Thomas Keller recipe?
Similar to gravlax, this salmon is marinated in coarse sea salt, sugar, white pepper, and zest from a bounty of citrus fruits overnight. What results is a beautiful citrus-infused salmon tartare, which pairs beautifully with potato blinis and greens with citrus vinaigrette.
Citrus Marinated Salmon
½ cup coarse salt (I used sea salt)
¼ teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
½ cup sugar
1 salmon filet, skin removed - (around 2 lbs)
1 ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
1 ½ teaspoon grated lime zest
1 ½ teaspoon grated grapefruit zest
Note: you can make this dish with a smaller piece of salmon if you want. According to Thomas Keller, allow 1 hour of marination time for every ¼ inch thickness of fish.
Note2: I took a risk and did not use sushi grade salmon (I just bought a filet of Norwegian farm-raised salmon from Costco). In order to be absolutely safe, it's best to buy salmon that is as fresh a possible or buy sushi grade salmon. According to my brief research on the FDA website, farm-raised salmon do have a much lower incidence of parasites compared to wild-caught salmon because their diets are controlled (assuming they are fed a diet of normal pelleted feed). However, the best way to ensure parasites are not present is to freeze the salmon at -4 degrees F (-20 degrees C) for 7 days. The cold temperatures kill the parasites.
Combine salt, pepper, sugar, and zest in a bowl and mix well.
Spread out half of the mixture on a piece of foil large enough to cover the entire fish!
Place salmon on salt mixture.
Cover the other side with the remaining salt mixture.
Fold aluminum foil over fish and place another pan directly on top.
Place weights of some sort (I used some cartons of cream and Pace Picante sauce) - on top to press on the salmon filet. This helps extract liquid and compact the flesh.
Refrigerate overnight (or for at least 8 hours if you have a 2-inch filet).
Remove salmon from marinade (a lot of liquid will have come out). Rinse under cold water and pat dry.
Slice thinly at a shallow angle to maximize their width.
Place three slices on top of a potato blini and garnish with a small handful of garden greens tossed with citrus vinaigrette.
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