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Feb 8, 2014
London for cooks - Blog - Curing

Curing


Recently I have been playing around with the new cooking technique: curing - a technique widely used for enhancing flavour of meat and fish, but also for preservation purposes. It is "all in the mix" - finding the right combination of salt, sugar and spices is crucial for getting a good result. But there are also other important things you need to bear in mind while you attempt to cure. 

I have tried curing duck legs for duck leg confit and salmon to serve raw as a starter. Both times I was using a dry cure, as curing saves a lot of space in the fridge. Bear in mind, however, that for a dry cure you will need to adhere to the recipe exactly, grinding the ingredients and carefully weighting them out to achieve uniform flavouring. Sometimes if you use a dry cure and leave your meat/ fish for longer time in it it is good to soak the proteins in water for some time to avoid oversalting, sometimes overnight. The quicker the curing the finer the salt has to be - so that it can quicker permeate the meat/fish to do its job.

For duck legs I used a metric recipe from "Modernist cuisine" by Nathan Myrvhold, for salmon I used a recipe from "Pier" by Greg Doyle.

After the legs were cured I soaked them in water for 3 hours and then patted the dry and vac packed with some goose fat.

After that in the waterbath they went and stayed there for 8 hours at 80℃.  I quickly fried the skin and served them with mashed potatoes and shredded red cabbage. 8 hours in the waterbath make the meat meltingly soft, so you can easily shred the meat, add some spring onions and soy sauce reduction and serve it on toasted bread.

Salmon spent 3 days covered in a mixture of salt, sugar and lime, orange and lemon zest, being turned over every 24 hours so that every side enjoyed some time in the cure.

After 3 days the salmon was ready to be eaten. There was no need to wash the cure off - it got almost entirely absorbed. Slice it thinly and drizzle with some good olive oil and a squeeze of lime: it is so easy and delicious, a shelve in my fridge is going to be reserved for home made salmon - no need to buy pre-packed one.

 


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