Once again I turn to my favorite Greek restaurant Kokkari in San Francisco for a recipe from their fabulous cookbook, “KOKKARI”. I had dinner there just a few weeks ago and I ordered the Cured Salmon as an appetizer, it was simply amazing! I had never tasted salmon like this before. It had a different element that tasted familiar but I couldn’t quit put my finger on it. I just had to ask the chef what was that incredible flavor I was picking up on. Most chefs are a bit reluctant to share recipes but since this was in their cookbook he told me without hesitation that the salmon was cured in Ouzo!
The salmon tasted incredibly fresh, slightly sweet with a teeny tiny essence of licorice, a tart citrusy flavor from the fresh lemon juice and a fruity green taste from the olive oil. It was so good, I ordered a second. I just knew when I got home I had to make this and share it with my family and friends.
The very next day I brought out the cookbook to look up the salmon recipe. The very first paragraph said that, “You need a good fishmonger to make this simple dish work; and that the salmon must be impeccably fresh”. When I read that I knew that I had to make a sea-food run to my favorite place to buy fish, Santa Monica Seafood. Santa Monica Seafood has the best, freshest fish other than the sea!
Santa Monica Seafood is a family-owned and operated company with a history stretching back to 19th century Italy. (Hmmm, I thought I felt a connection) In other words they have been in business forever and their reputation is well known and respected.
Shopping there is a real treat with friendly, patient people to help you and guide you. It’s cheery and bright, with cases that wrap around the interior of the store from one end to the other with fish beautifully displayed. NOTHING smells fishy. In fact when you walk into the store you smell the subtle brininess of the ocean that is clean and sweet. Customers are leisurely and happily dining on one side of the store enjoying bowls of clam chowder, lobster or their fresh catch of the day.
I used to live 10 minutes from the store, now I live in another city 45 minutes north of Los Angeles. It doesn’t matter I make the drive whenever I serve fish because it is so worth it. I made the drive to pick up the fish to make my Ouzo Cured Salmon.
After I explained to the gentleman behind the counter what I was going to make he expertly pick out a beautiful piece of wild caught salmon, firm with that amazing deep rich color that only salmon in the wild have. I left happy and enthusiastic about making the salmon
If you are a fish lover like me you will absolutely love this recipe.
The salmon is super easy to make and it only take 10 minutes to cure!
¾ pound skinless sashimi-grade salmon fillet
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon ouzo liqueur
½ teaspoon honey
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of Sea salt
Freshly ground back pepper
Pinch of paprika
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
Feel for and remove any pin bones, from the salmon fillet. If the filet has a white, string-like “tendon” running down the center, trim it away. Trim any gray flash on the skin side. With a sharp chef’s knife, slice the salmon thinly about ¼ inch thick or less on a slight diagonal and arrange the slices side by side, close together, on a chilled patter.
To make a marinade, whisk together the lemon juice, ouzo and honey.
Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
Spoon the marinade over the fish, season the fish with salt and black pepper.
Let marinate at least 10- minutes before serving. The fish will begin to change color but will not be fully cured at that point; marinate longer if you like. Just before serving garnish with pepper and dill.
If you wish to purchase the KOKKARI cook book, here is a link http://amzn.to/IzZH72
Santa Monica Sea Food http://bit.ly/bbfd3w
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