Makes 4-6 first-course servings
*Be aware that the salmon takes 4 days to pickle.
4 cups water
1 cup white distilled vinegar
1 cup sugar
¼ cup kosher salt
6 bay leaves
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon allspice berries
½ teaspoon dried dill
½ teaspoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound skin-on salmon filet
1 large onion, peeled thinly sliced
1 cup sour cream
1. In a large saucepan, combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt, bay leaves and all spices (coriander through red pepper flakes); bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
2. Place salmon and onions in a non-reactive container (plastic or glass). Pour cooled brine over all. Refrigerate for 4 days.
3. To serve, remove salmon from the marinade. Remove skin from the salmon, and cut it into ¼” slices (my preference), or into 1″ cubes. Place the salmon in a bowl, and toss it with 1 cup of the sliced onions from the marinade (try to leave seeds behind.) Mix sour cream with 8 teaspoons of the pickling juice. Season to taste. Blend the salmon and onions in the bowl with the sour cream sauce. Divide among 4 appetizer plates and serve immediately.
Serving NOTE: The pickled lox is extremely versatile. You could, for example, leave out the cream sauce; simply slice the lox, and put it on a bagel with cream cheese. You could also put the cream-less lox slices on a blini, with melted butter and sour cream. Or you could toss pieces of the lox in some sort of old-fangled/new-fangled salad (I vote for beets in the mix!) Once you add the cream sauce, there are still many new ways to go. I love this dish as is—but the inclusion of such things as capers and/or parsley would be great. How about adding thin slices of Granny Smith apple?
Pair this recipe with…
Wonderful Petit Chablis for food, very flexible. Light green in the glass. On the nose, it’s actually on the ripe side of young appley fruit. Absolute tingle in the mouth: light, evanescent, delicate, crackling with electric lemony acidity. A great oyster wine, a great cured salmon wine. And, according to the good folks at Martha Stewart, an “amazing” pick for a spring white wine!