soy cured salmon

I’m about to go on about Jean George’s book for the second time.  I’ve made this recipe before and I’m gonna make it again and again and again and again, it’s so good,  it’s sock-yourself-in-the-eye good.  I realize that statement might not make any sense, but indulge me people I’m trying to get my point across.

For something that you think is going to be long, complicated, convoluted and full of ingredients you’ve never heard of, let alone know how to pronounce (umm like some of his other recipes), you’d be dead wrong.

It’s super easy… I actually tried it using both salmon and tuna, to spectacular and delicious results, if I do say so myself (salmon wins out, but only slightly).  Just don’t cheap out and buy saran wrapped Styrofoam supermarket fish, go to your FISH SHOP and buy good quality fillet of salmon, it’s not that expensive as you only need a small piece.

Soy Cured Salmon (adapted from Jean George’s Asian Flavors)

9 oz piece of salmon, skinned trimmed and halved lengthwise, this means so you will end up with thin pieces the same size as what you started, capeche?

1 cup LIGHT soy sauce, this is not “lite” soy sauce, the brand I used was Pearl River it’s Chinese, I think there is a Japanese version too, anything that is LIGHT, DO NOT substitute for anything else, this will be a horrifying mistake!

1 cup cilantro leaves

1 fresh green Thai chili chopped

1 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped.


Put everything in the blender (except FISH duh) and puree until smooth but still chunky.  Transfer to shallow bowl or Tupperware container and submerge fish COMPLETELY.  The fish needs to be covered entirely by the soy mixture otherwise it will not cure properly.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 day.


after I took this photograph I submerged the salmon further so it was completely covered.


Remove salmon from brine, rinse off, pat dry with paper towels.  Slice thinly.


Try not to eat it all before you make the accompanying cilantro creme fraiche, coz it does go really well with it.

1/2 c creme fraiche

2 scallions, white part thinly sliced, chuck the green or use for something else

1 tbsp lime zest, 2 tbsp lime juice

1 small Thai chili chopped really fine

pinch salt

Combine all ingredients.  Drizzle on plate, lay slices of salmon on top and garnish with peeled and chopped asian pear, which gives a nice crunch to the dish and some grated lime zest.  I’m telling you this recipe is pure genius!



  1. Jill
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    wow that looks yummy!! I will definately try this one…

  2. Joe B
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Great… I’m in bed, it’s 11pm and now I’m starving. That dish looks incredible.

  3. Posted May 11, 2009 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Oh my goodness – that looks amazing! And so easy! I need to throw a dinner party, RIGHT NOW!

    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted May 12, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Forget the dinner party, just make it for dinner, beside you won’t want to share it, seriously!

  4. Jacquie
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Wow, I have been waiting patiently for the recipe for this ever since the epic NYC dinner in February! Mr Smith will be so impressed if I can whip this one up.

    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted May 14, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Mr Smith is going to be so impressed!

  5. Charlene
    Posted June 7, 2009 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    hi, i just wanna to know whether the salmon gotta be sashimi grade.

    • thecatskillkiwi
      Posted June 7, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      No it does not need to be sushi grade, just good quality, and remember make sure the piece of fish is completely submerged, this is key.
      let me know if you like it!

      • Charlene
        Posted June 10, 2009 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        thanks, i made the cured soy salmon but i sliced them before submerging into the brine as i wanted an intense taste. instead of going with cream, i made a japanese style salad that you can consider trying it.
        Ingredients :
        a few pieces of soy cured salmon and place on top of the mixed greens

        tossed the followings with caramelized ginger & toasted goma vinaigrette

        – julienne kabocha
        – edamame (cook as per the package directions and remove the peas from the pod)
        – pea shoots
        – buckwheat noodles aka soba cook as per the package directions)
        – julienne cucumber
        – tofu, cubed
        – tomato

  6. Erin
    Posted July 29, 2009 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    Great recipe! May I recommend adding 1/3 cup chopped cilantro to the creme fraiche?

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