While the process is incredibly simple, the potential variations are endless. Whenever I show a new technique, I usually keep things simple, as to not distract people, but whether you’re talking about the brine, or post-cure seasonings, this is something that begs for adaptation.
Smoked salt, chipotle, or smoked paprika could be used before or after the cure to make things a little loxier, and don’t even get me started on the herbs. After the 3-minute cure, you can sprinkle your slices with dill, tarragon, chervil, and/or thyme, before the refrigeration stage. Speaking of impatient millennials; this is technically ready to eat after the three minute dunk, but you’ll enjoy this much more if you thoroughly chill it first.
Besides the flavorings, you can also play around with how thin/thick you slice the salmon, as well as how long you brine it. For me, if I slice the fish about 1/4-inch thick, three minutes is just about the perfect cure time for my desired texture and saltiness. However, you should experiment. Longer curing times, or thinner slices will result in a firmer, saltier product.
Of course, all that experimenting is going to make you hungry, and you’ll still need to decide how you’re going to serve it. I’ve suggested three delicious directions herein, but I’m fully confident you’ll come up with some stellar spin-offs as well. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!
FOOD SAFETY NOTE: Much like rare meat, oysters, and raw eggs, if you’re concerned about the safety of eating homemade, cured salmon, you should do some research, and decide for yourself if it’s worth the risk. This technique works great with frozen salmon, which apparently kills potential parasites, so that’s one option. Anecdotally, I can tell you I’ve done this, and similar procedures, countless dozens of times with fresh salmon ("sushi grade" from a reputable, local purveyor), and have lived to tell the tale. Good luck.
Brine for to cure about 1 pound of salmon:
2 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup Kosher salt – I used Diamond Crystal brand
1/3 cup sugar