Brian Cain

LOX: A Great Use for Sockeye Salmon

Brian Cain
LOX: A Great Use for Sockeye Salmon

LOX: A Great Use for Sockeye Salmon

 

Something that takes three days doesn’t necessarily sound quick and easy.   But, considering that over a three day period, something like 71 ½ hours of the 72 hour preparation time is just waiting for it to cure,  it is actually a very easy half hour project that will bring enormous pleasure. 

 

Sockeye salmon is easy to find in your grocer’s frozen case year round*.   It is so lean that it is hard to cook without over cooking, so, it is best served raw either as tartare, sushi or lox.   I never used to make lox because I was afraid that handling and eating raw fish was best left to trained sushi chefs who knew all the “secrets” of avoiding cross contamination.   There is no secret with lox.   Salt has been used to preserve all types of food under less than aseptic conditions since human’s most primitive beginnings.  Lox is essentially salt cured salmon.   Yet, the final product doesn’t really taste very salty.

 

By the way, the word lox is a generic word for raw salmon cured in salt and sugar.   Gravlax is also lox, but, embellished with spices, seasonings and other flavors.  

 

I’ve also included a couple of sauces.   Most of the time, however, we simply serve it on either toasted baguette slices, English muffins or bagels with cream cheese.  It makes a great breakfast, lunch, appetizer or evening snack.   Often, we have this along with pate, cheese and/or other cured meats in lieu of dinner if we’ve had a late lunch.

 

I’ve included two recipes here.   They are both excellent, but, the first one is slightly sweeter while the second one seems maybe a tad saltier, though, by no means too salty.   Neither Alice nor I normally use salt, so we have a very very low tolerance to the flavor of salt.  You will not find it too salty.  Either of these is good for a week maybe longer after it is cured.   We normally gobble it up in a few days.

 

Gravlax with Orange Liquor

 

3 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarsely crushed black pepper

2 tablespoons of orange liqueur

1 pound Sockeye salmon fillet, pin bones removed

 

Mix the first five ingredients in a bowl and cover the flesh side of the salmon completely.   Lay the salmon skin side down in a large glass baking dish.   Cover it with plastic wrap and set a foil wrapped brick on top of it.    Refrigerate and once a day, flip the salmon over and replace the plastic wrap and brick.   After three days, wipe the salmon dry, remove the skin and slice as thin as you can on a diagonal.

 

Optional Caper Dressing

 

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons orange liqueur

¼ cup capers

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

 

Combine all ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Juniper and Gin Gravlax

 

½ cup kosher salt

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons or more of finely chopped packed grated zest from one lemon, one lime and one orange

2 teaspoons coarsely grated black pepper

2 tablespoons crushed and loosely chopped juniper berries

1 cup chopped fresh dill

¼ cup London Dry Gin

1 pound Sockeye salmon fillet, pin bones removed

 

Mix the first seven ingredients in a bowl and cover the flesh side of the salmon completely.  Lay the salmon skin side down in a large glass baking dish.   Cover it with plastic wrap and set a foil wrapped brick on top of it.  Refrigerate and once a day, flip the salmon over and replace the plastic wrap and brick.  After three days, rinse, dry and skin the salmon and re-season lightly with dill and pepper.   Slice as thin as you can on a diagonal.

 

Optional Lemon Relish

 

1 lemon (you can use the one you had used for the zest, above)

1 lime (you can use the one you had used for the zest, above)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup or so of finely chopped fennel

1 small onion finely chopped

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

   Kosher salt to taste

1/3 cup of honey

 

Pour the olive oil in a medium hot pan and sauté the onion, fennel and fennel seeds until limp and soft, add the chopped citrus and continue cooking until mixture is just starting to turn golden.   Add about a 1/3 cup of water and cook down until the water/citrus liquid is just about evaporated.   Add the honey and continue to cook until it is a sloppy jammy consistency.   Chill, add salt if desired and serve with lox or use as a glaze on broiled King or Coho salmon.

 

Enjoy in Good Health,

A. Brian Cain, the Michigan Vintner

*If you see it in your grocer’s fresh case, be sure it is not previously frozen. If it was previously frozen, ask for a piece that is still frozen. You’ll find it to be just as fresh as if you lived in Seattle. ABC