The delicate taste of salted salmon is able to conquer millions of gourmands around the world. This delicacy fish is added to sushi and salads, spaghetti and tartlets, light sandwiches and canapés are prepared with it. Redfish is considered a festive table decoration, but its cost can scare away many housewives – 150-200 grams of ready-made salted salmon fillets can cost as much as a jar of elite red caviar or a kilogram of meat tenderloin. However, it is not at all necessary to buy already salted fish meat – if you buy the whole salmon and salt it yourself at home, you can reduce the cost price of your favorite dishes by half, or even threefold. And the taste, in this case, will turn out much more attractive and more natural.
How to pickle salmon fillets in order to preserve the delicate taste and delicate texture of an elite fish? We have collected the best recipes that will allow you to pamper your homemade seafood delicacy every day!
How to prepare fish for pickling?
Before you start cooking salmon, you must prepare the carcass for salting. To do this, thoroughly clean the pulp from the ridge, large and small bones. If you plan to cut cooked salted salmon into thin slices (for example, for rolls or sandwiches), the fillet should be dense and wide, and therefore you should take fish weighing at least 4-5 kg. If the fish is needed for grinding in salads or tartlets, you can take a smaller carcass – you can cut fillets of any size into small cubes.
Having decided on the size of the carcass, you can start cleaning it:
- Thaw the fish completely. The defrosting time of bulk salmon can reach one and a half days, so it’s better to just put it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator – where it will gradually reach the desired condition and not deteriorate.
Important! Do not defrost the salmon in the microwave or warm water – the flesh of the redfish is quite tender and can quickly be scalded with a sharp temperature drop, which will negatively affect the taste and texture of the finished dish.
- Gut the carcass and carefully cut it along the ridge into two equal parts.
- Rinse each half under running water, and then separate the stones. The easiest way to do this is with special tweezers with a clip at the end, but if it is not at hand, you can use ordinary tweezers or even pliers (if the bones are rather large).
- Cutting the fillet from the skin is not necessary! Otherwise, when it is salted, it may lose its elasticity, and later it will be much easier to cut it on the skin.
Tip! If you don’t have time to fiddle with the bones, buy a ready-made steak on the skin at the store – it will already be completely clean.
The classic method of cooking salted salmon
Using this recipe, absolutely any housewife will be able to pickle a redfish at home. At the same time, the taste of the resulting dish will be not much different from the store’s delicacy.
To make classic salted salmon, you will need:
- a pound of fish fillet with skin;
- 1 tablespoon of coarse (preferably sea) salt;
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.
If you have more or less salmon, simply increase (decrease) the number of ingredients without disturbing the proportions.
Step by step recipe
- Place sugar and salt in a deep platter and mix to achieve uniformity.
- Put the salmon on the parchment and thoroughly rub the pulp with the resulting mixture.
- Turn the fish and skin up and rub it in the same way, moving against the growth of scales – so the salt and sugar will be packed under the scales, which means that the taste will be more uniform.
- Invert the fillet several times, as if slicing salt and sugar.
- Lay the salmon skin up, wrap the parchment tightly and place it all in a deep container.
- Install a small press on the fish (for example, a liter jar of water or a heavy mortar) – this will accelerate the time of salting.
- Put the container in the refrigerator for an average of 8-15 hours – the time for cooking salted salmon depends on the size of the piece.
After the fish has salted, gently clean the excess undissolved salt with a knife – and feel free to cook any dish with the addition of a tasty delicacy!
Important! A slightly salted fillet is stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, so if you have cleared too large a portion of the bone, it is better to freeze it and salt it next time.
Variations of the traditional recipe
The dry salting is considered optimal for salmon preparation, therefore the absolute majority of hostesses use this method. In addition, the delicate taste of salted fish can be diversified with various additives:
- If you sprinkle the fillet with brandy, the fish will delight you with a light woody aroma and a spicy aftertaste.
- By adding a little vinegar or lemon juice, you can emphasize the natural charm of the gourmet fish and, moreover, significantly speed up the salting process.
- A droplet of liquid smoke will add lightly smoked meat to the lightly salted dish and fill the flesh with the deep rich aroma of the fire.
- A little soy sauce will shorten the cooking time of salmon and will serve as an excellent accompaniment to fish taste.
- Spices and herbs will give salted salmon uniqueness, highlighting the culinary talent of the hostess.
Step by step, these recipes will look exactly the same as the classic: the only point that will differ significantly is the addition of natural flavors. Liquid additives (brandy, soy sauce, etc.) it is better to sprinkle a piece before adding the sugar-salt mixture, and dry (spices, spices, etc.) – add to salt and then apply to the pulp. So the taste of salted salmon will be more uniform.
Useful life hack: how to cook salmon in 1 hour
If time is running out, and the salted fish needs to be done very urgently, it’s okay – you can salt it in just 40-50 minutes. To do this, cut the thawed and deboned pulp into thin slices, without cutting them off from the skin. Sprinkle the resulting “accordion” liberally with salt and black pepper, then put in a jar, close the lid tightly and shake the contents thoroughly. Put the jar in the fridge for about half an hour, then shake again and wait another 15-20 minutes. Thin slices are quickly soaked in salt, so the salmon will be ready to eat within 50 minutes after salting.
Pickled salmon in the marinade
To prepare the fish marinade you need:
- fillet of redfish on the skin, sliced in portion steaks of about 100 g each – 1 kg (10 pieces in total);
- large table salt – 4 tablespoons;
- 1 tablespoon of sugar;
- cloves and bay leaf – 2-3 pieces;
- allspice – 6-7 peas;
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice;
- 1 liter of water.
Method of preparation (with photo and detailed description of the stages)
- Each of the pieces of salmon prepared for pickling is cut into several plates without disturbing the integrity of the fish skin.
- We put the finished cutting into an enameled or glass saucepan of a suitable volume.
Important! It is not recommended to use aluminum dishes for cooking salted fish. When food is stored for a long time, aluminum walls begin to secrete compounds that spoil the taste of the finished dish.
- Add the required amount of sugar, salt and seasonings to the boiling water, mix thoroughly and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Cover the finished marinade and leave to cool to room temperature.
- After the marinade has cooled, filter it through a gauze napkin and mix it with lemon juice.
- Fill the prepared salmon so that the liquid completely covers the fillet.
- We cover the fish with a plate with a smaller diameter on top – it will serve as a kind of press and will help to immerse each slice in a fragrant pickle.
- Cover the saucepan with the lid and put it in the fridge for about a day.
- After a specified time, gently drain the marinade and wipe each slice with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Seafood delicacy ready to serve!
Important! Do not be alarmed if light white patches appear on slices of salmon – this is quite possible due to the acid contained in the lemon juice.
This method of salting allows you to give the fish a more spicy, tart taste and delicate, juicy texture. The composition of ingredients can be modified, guided by their own taste. Many gourmets replace sugar with honey; add a small amount of dry or liquid smoke, soy sauce, lemon zest, brandy or even rum – each of these ingredients adds a special piquancy to light-salted salmon.
Cooking redfish in oil
The recipe for salting salmon using butter is the only way to get a juicy and tender fish in the event that the fillet is already skin-free. The oil film will take over the functions of the skin during salting, that is, it will preserve natural juice and slightly compact the texture of the pieces.
In order to pickle a kilo of fish fillets in this way, you will need about 3 teaspoons of salt – the oil dissolves the salt crystals well and saturates the salmon pulp much faster and more evenly than the water brine.
Salmon, sliced, sprinkle with salt, pour half a glass of vegetable oil and mix well. Then you need to remove the container with the fish in the refrigerator for 12-15 hours, after which the most tender fillet can be served directly to the table! Since the recipe does not contain anything other than salt and oil, you can add a subtle “zest” to the prepared dish by sprinkling it before serving with the fresh juice of lime or lemon, sprinkled with hot peppers or herbs.
Each of these recipes for cooking salted salmon allows you to achieve a unique taste of fish, which will not yield anything to the finished store delicacy. Try experimenting with the ingredients and the method of salting to determine the best option for yourself – and then the elite redfish consisting of sushi, delicious sandwiches, salads, and other delicious dishes will become a frequent guest on your table, and your culinary research will be appreciated!