Serves 6 (enough for 12 bagels) Cur­ing salmon is so easy, but you need some time and pa­tience. At a ba­sic level, you can cure fish with salt and sugar. If you add some other in­gre­di­ents like gin, lemon zest, maple syrup or grated beet­root, then the sim­ple salmon quickly be­comes the king of the sea. Smoked salmon is cured first and then usu­ally cold- smoked af­ter. Wolf­head is dou­ble-smoked and from New Brunswick and is the Queen’s favourite. So, if you ever meet her, as a good sub­ject you can say that it’s your favourite too.

2 to 3 lb cen­tre-cut At­lantic

salmon fil­let, scaled and pin-boned ½ lb kosher salt (I rec­om­mend Di­a­mond Crys­tal) 2½ lb turbinado or brown sugar 1 bunch fresh dill, di­vided Zest of 3 lemons, di­vided ¼ cup aqua­vit or vodka

Ask your fish­mon­ger when their At­lantic salmon comes in and whether they can set some aside for you. You’ve got to start with a fresh and fatty prod­uct.

In a large bowl, mix the salt and sugar to­gether thor­oughly to make your cure. Spread about a quar­ter of the mix­ture evenly in a large casse­role dish.

Lay the salmon skin-side down onto the cure.

Sprin­kle a small amount of the cure onto the flesh of the salmon and gen­tly mas­sage it in with your hands. Then gar­nish gen­er­ously with half of the chopped dill and the zest of 2 of the lemons.

Evenly sprin­kle the aqua­vit or vodka over the salmon, then cover with the re­main­ing cure. You need to make sure that you can’t see the fish any­more! Cover the dish with plas­tic wrap or alu­minum foil.

Find a nice flat place in your fridge and slide the casse­role dish in. This will need to be re­frig­er­ated for 2 to 3 days, depend­ing on how firm and salty you want your fish. Flip the salmon once daily and make sure that it’s al­ways cov­ered in the cure.

Once the fish has firmed up to a tex­ture that you like, rinse the cure off with wa­ter and dry with pa­per towel. Gar­nish with the re­main­ing chopped dill and the zest of the last lemon and let dry, cov­ered, in the fridge for an­other 12 hours.

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