Mediterranean Cured Salmon

By Margi Lenga Kahn


1 ¼ pounds very fresh salmon fillet, tail end with skin left on 

¾ cup sugar 

¾ cup coarse kosher salt 

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1 ½ tsp. coriander seeds, toasted 

½ tbsp. fennel seeds, toasted and crushed

1 star anise seed, crushed (optional) 

Zest of 1 lemon, grated 

Zest of 1 lime, grated 

Zest of 1 orange, grated 

For serving and garnishing

8 oz. sour cream or crème fraiche

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

4-6 oz. cream cheese

Halved bagels or thinly sliced challah

2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced 


Stir together sugar, salt, coriander, fennel and anise seed (if using) in a medium bowl.  Add zest of lemon, lime and orange; stir. Turn mixture into a half-gallon ziplock freezer bag.

Add salmon fillet to bag, gently roll around to coat, then press sugar-salt mixture evenly onto both sides of the salmon. Set plastic bag onto a rectangular pan or dish and weigh down with a heavy skillet, or three 28-ounce unopened cans (such as cans of tomatoes). Set pan with weights in refrigerator for two days. 

When ready to serve, remove bag from refrigerator and thoroughly scrape off citrus-salt mixture, patting salmon lightly with damp paper towels to remove most of the cure. Slice salmon paper-thin on a diagonal and place onto a plate (discard skin). (Salmon may be sliced and plated one  day in advance, covered with plastic wrap and kept refrigerated.

Stir together sour cream, lemon zest and lemon juice; set aside.

Lightly spread cream cheese on bagel halves or challah slices. Top with a slice of salmon and place a dollop of sour cream mixture on top. Sprinkle with a few scallion pieces and serve.

Makes 8-10 servings