I never thought that making a cured fish at home could be so easy and rewarding, but then, that is exactly why I love to cook. Always something to learn, and there’s always some new flavors to find.
This preparation was so simple I’m almost mad I’ve never done it! The only real trick to it is the time element – good fresh fish is of course the top priority and from there it is just the technique and salt quality.
I wanted to find a good use for the Salish Smoked Salt that I got from the fine folks at The Meadow. It has a strong, pungent aroma and anybody in the room should be able to sense when the jar is opened. This salt is much smokey-er than Maldon or other smoked flakes I’ve come across, and as such is perfect for the addition of that charred sensation without the use of any flame at home.
This is a particularly good idea if it is a hot day and you don’t want to use any heating elements. The toast and butter are easy and I’d just made a nice hearty rustic white bread the day before, otherwise I was thinking tostadas or sashimi-style.
I only used about a 1/2 lb of fish, the fillet at the counter was such a lovely bright color that I couldn’t turn it down.
I washed the fish off with some water and patted it dry. I covered each of the flat sides with salt with my fingers, starting with a small amount of the Salish Smoked, then covered that with a hearty layer of Sel de Trapani, for economic reasons.
Then I wrapped the fillet in plastic and set it on a small plate with a decent lip, to catch the juices the meat with lose. I pressed the top-plate down with an 8 lb heavy ball that I keep in the kitchen, and I think the sufficient weighting-down is a good part of how and why the meat turned out so well.
After two hours I unwrapped, washed and patted the ahi down. It had become quite firm and changed color, becoming brighter and clearly different than when I had started to salt it.
Sliced thin while still cold, on hot toast with some chunky butter was simply divine – as my partner phrased it, “An instant Classic.”