I adore salmon, in just about every way. Hot smoked, cold smoked, raw, grilled – you name it. And I’ve always wanted to make my own gravlax. But then I came across this recipe for pickled salmon recently, and I knew I had to make it first.
It’s from one of my favorite series of cookbooks that I still refer to – the Foods of the World series by Time Life. This recipe is from American Cooking: The Northwest. Sorry for the blurriness.
Now, this recipe can’t replace gravlax, which is cured salmon. This recipe is pickled salmon, so I’m still promising myself to still make gravlax soon.
I’m typing up the recipe as it is in the recipe book, and I did pretty much follow the recipe. However, instead of a large side of salmon, I used a smaller, frozen filet (thawed first) that was barely over a pound, and crudely adjusted the other ingredients accordingly. I mean, what’s 2 bay leaves divided by 5?
This salmon is super easy to make, and can be enjoyed within one week when it’s stored in the refrigerator, which it must be. I served mine with crackers, quite simply. If you love anything that’s pickled, you’ll love this pickled salmon!
Serves 12 as a first course
2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 small onions, peeled, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rings
2 medium-sized bay leaves, crumbled
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons whole cloves
2 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
5 pounds fresh salmon, boned, skinned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon salt
Combine the vinegar, water, olive oil, onions, bay leaves, mustard seeds, cloves, and white and black peppercorns in a 2-3 quart enameled saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the salmon pieces in one layer on a strip of wax paper. Sprinkle the fish evenly with the salt and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Then drop the salmon into a colander and run cold water over it to rinse off the excess salt.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and pack the pieces tightly into a glass jar.
Pour the hot vinegar-and-spice mixture over the salmon, a little at a time, allowing the liquid to seep down slowly to the bottom of the jar before adding more.
Cool to room temperature, tightly cover with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate the salmon for at least 24 hours before serving. Tightly covered, it can be safely kept in the refrigerator for about a week.
Before serving, I poured off the liquid. I didn’t want the salmon to be watery.
I added a little marscapone to the crackers before topping them with the salmon, and it was really nice. The marscapone toned down the vinegary flavor, but the salmon was good.
note: I kept the salmon in one piece to do the salting part, rinsed it and dried it, and then sliced it up. Way easier. I also decided to include a few of the pickled onion rings along with the salmon.