I have to have one more beach day before summer is over. The weather has already turned to fall just a bit here in New York. I’m sure we will have a few flashes of heat in the next few weeks, but I have a feeling it won’t get above 78 degrees for a long time, so Kramer and I have gathered some friends together for one last glorious beach trip this weekend. I need one more fish taco and one more basket of fries with beer before the sun tucks itself away for the winter. Not that I’ll be wanting for beach time this winter. I’m lucky enough to have not one, but two trips planned. Our good friends Tom and Valerie are getting married in Mexico, just outside of Cancun, around Halloween, so we will be drinking out of coconuts and swimming in blue water soon enough. Then, in January, my family is taking a trip to Thailand and bringing Kramer and I along for the ride. So I’m definitely a far cry from warranting any sympathy and very fortunate indeed. I still need to go to Rockaway this weekend, though.
As I said earlier this week, we strong armed our friends Amanda and Matt into having a Labor Day barbecue at their place this past Sunday. Kramer and I brought over some of the lovely Copper River wild Coho salmon that I was sent straight from Alaska, and along with some steaks and chicken, made a big build-your-own-taco spread for everyone. I loved the salmon in the tacos, personally. I did a curry rub on it and it was so tasty. There were also burgers and hot dogs, of course, and I made some stuffed naan with Amanda’s mom’s excellent mango chutney (curry recipe to come). The weather seemed touch and go for a while there, but then the sun came out and we had a great time. They have such a wonderful outdoor space that it’s hard not to. Thanks again for hosting, guys!
I already made gravlax earlier this year with my shipment of fresher than fresh Alaskan Copper River salmon, but cured fish is one of my all time favorite things, so I had to make another version. I saw a similar recipe on Macheesmo recently, but I wanted to make it a little more like an old fashioned (figures), so I used orange, raw fennel, peppercorns, a little extra sugar and to keep it traditional, fresh dill. This bourbon salmon packs a big punch of flavor and is absolutely perfect on top of some good rye or pumpernickel with creme fraîche or cream cheese. For a hearty breakfast, throw it on a bagel or toss it into some scrambled eggs – cured fish will last a long time in the fridge, but I promise you that it won’t last longer than one meal.
Amanda (who is tan and ripped from working at an animal rehabilitation center in Costa Rica all summer).
The always photogenic Ryan.
- 1 pound salmon filet, skin on
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup kosher salt
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh dill
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- ¼ cup bourbon
- rye and/or pumpernickel bread
- creme fraîche and/or cream cheese
- red onions
- Place your salmon on a big piece of plastic wrap. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, fennel, dill, orange zest and black peppercorns. Take your bourbon and pour it over your fish, patting it into the flesh, then pour your sugar and salt mixture over the fish and pat it on top of the bourbon. It will seem like a lot, but just go for it. Wrap the salmon tightly in plastic wrap as best you can and place the wrapped fish in some kind of bowl or dish (so nothing leaks all over your fridge – believe me, it will leak). Place the fish in your fridge and allow it to cure for 72 hours.
- When ready, unwrap the salmon and rinse it off really well. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel, and slice thinly as a slight angle. Serve with your favorite accoutrement and enjoy! The cured salmon will keep well, wrapped tightly, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.