If I could afford it, I would eat fish every day. I *love* fish. Especially with fluffy white rice and some nice soy or maggi sauce…yum yum yum. Unfortunately I live in the real world, so fresh fish is a treat.
Look at this beauty…it looked really amazing with the bright blue styrofoam, but unfortunately the camera didn’t really capture that pop!
For the party last weekend, I was planning to buy a bit of fresh salmon and cure it, then put slices on cucumbers. I did almost all of that, but instead of salmon, we found great looking steelhead trout for half the price. Steelhead is the same color as salmon and Mike attested to its very similar taste, so I went for it! And I felt like such a classy party hostess presenting these to my guests 🙂
Curing fish might seem a little, well, fishy, but it’s actually a great way to prepare fish without having to worry about it coming out perfectly fork-flaky and whatnot. It’s not “cooked,” but the fish isn’t exactly raw, either, since you’re basically salt-preserving it (killing any microbes). You make a brine, put it on the fish, wrap it in plastic wrap, and leave it in the fridge for a day. Wash, slice, serve, done.
You can really use any citrus for the zest, so if you just have lemons, zest from two of those is fine in place of the grapefruit. And “decoratively peeling” cucumbers is so simple: just run a veggie peeler in four columns so that peeled/unpeeled alternates, and they look beautiful sliced up.
Cured Trout/Salmon on Cucumber Slices
Makes 30 bite-size appetizers
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup vodka (unflavored only!)
1 Tbsp sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 grapefruit
1 pound trout or salmon, as fresh as possible, boned with skin on
3 cucumbers, peeled decoratively (see above) and sliced 1/4″-1/8″ thick
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp dill
Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl. The texture will be like wet sand. Lay down three layers of plastic wrap on a clean surface, then place fish on it, skin side down. Spread cure mixture on top of fish, then wrap tightly with the plastic. Place on a cookie sheet and leave in the refrigerator for about one day. (It’s not really ideal to do much less or much more time. 18-36 hours is probably the widest possible range.)
Once fish has cured, remove from plastic wrap, wash off the cure with water, and slice into paper-thin pieces by cutting at an angle with the grain of the meat (see above). Place one or two pieces of fish on each cucumber slice. Mix together greek yogurt and lemon juice, then drop a small dollop on each cucumber/fish piece. Sprinkle with dill and serve.