There is much we want to hold onto in life, like our health and fond memories with family and friends, but what about the savory foods of summer? Just like a great snapshot or a story told over and over again, there are ways we can preserve those precious delicacies. Let’s take salmon for instance, what a wild pilgrim it is, arriving at this time every year for a quick yet remarkable visit. We make great efforts to be sure to partake in the glory of a beautiful Copper or magnificent Yukon as the Sockeye and Kings run through. But how in the world can we preserve this delicious moment? How can we enjoy this summer memory again and again? My dears, there is a reliable pathway to salmon security, you need to get the cure.
Salmon has long sustained the people of many cultures, Native Americans, Nova Scotians and Scandinavians come to mind, and in so doing delicious techniques emerged. How did they conserve their great catch so they had savory sustenance deep into the winter? They got the cure. Our best preservatives have always been salt, sugar, spice and smoke. Not only do they conserve fish for later they alter its flavor, making it a delicious delicacy right now. In fact, today curing food is primarily used just for enhancing the flavors and textures of our favorites.
Curing can be done in multiple ways, by placing lots of dry salt directly on the salmon or in a liquid as brine, letting the mysterious process of osmosis and dehydration take place. Smoking creates an environment that heats and dehydrates the fish, the smoke itself also helps take away the ability of bacteria to thrive while adding delicious unmistakable flavor. Salt and spice are used for drying as in gravlax and most lox is brined then cold smoked. Kippered salmon is brined and then hot smoked. Smoked salmon can be made by using either hot or cold smoke and is usually but not always brined first. Cold smoked salmon is first cured by a dry salt rub or brined and then smoked at a low temperature like 80 degrees F for 10-12 hours. Spices, herbs and sugar come along for the flavor ride creating the nuanced recipes of famous cultural pride. Together they create ways to enjoy salmon any day of the year. But the most important part about salmon is its curative effect. It is a superfood when it comes to omega three fatty acid content and that is powerful medicine. “Omega-3s make platelets in the blood less likely to stick together and may reduce inflammatory processes in blood vessels and elsewhere. By reducing blood clotting, omega-3s may help lower the chance of a fatal heart attack. Omega-3s in high doses can help decrease levels of triglycerides, the major type of fat that circulates in the blood. They may also make the heart less susceptible to dangerous, sometimes fatal, rhythm abnormalities.”
Getting salmon in your diet is super important but do remember that many cured fish contain extra sodium so eat these less frequently if that is an issue for you. “Chefdoctor” Jeremy has some great ideas on how you can “get the cure” and you can find them right here . The fine chefs at our Salty’s restaurants are curing some salmon for you right now enhancing flavors like nothing you’ve ever tasted. Be sure to come by in July and check out our delicious Salmon Lox “Bruschetta” and Cedar Plank Roasted King Salmon.