Crispy Kelp-Cured Salmon takes the ancient Japanese method of kobujime to modern culinary heights. The recipe takes inspiration from the wisdom of traditional Japanese fishermen and the imaginative approach of Rick Rubin, resulting in a dish that is both rooted in history and innovatively unique. The kasujiru-inspired beurre blanc provides a touch of elegance, elevating this dish to gourmet status.
Prep time: Overnight
Cook time: 20 minutes
For the Salmon:
- 2 150-gram salmon fillets (skin on, scaled)
- 2 sheets of kombu (similar in size to the fish fillets)
- 10 milliliters of rice oil
For the Sauce:
- 25 grams of kasu (sake lees)
- 25 milliliters of white wine vinegar
- 40 grams of butter (cut into small cubes, refrigerated)
- Watercress, umibudō (sea grapes), or any preferred salad
Preparing the Salmon:
- Inspect Salmon: Check your salmon fillets for any remaining bones and scales.
- Cure with Kombu: Lay each salmon fillet on a sheet of kombu. Place in a tray and allow it to dry out, skin uncovered, in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours, but preferably overnight.
Cooking the Salmon:
- Prepare Parchment: The next day, cut parchment paper to be slightly larger than the size of your salmon fillets. Oil the skin side of the salmon and place each piece, skin down, onto its respective sheet of parchment.
2. Pan-Fry: Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the salmon, still on its parchment paper, into the pan. You can either leave the kombu on for extra moisture or remove it for simplicity.
3. Crisp the Skin: Press down on the fish with a spatula to ensure good contact with the heat and prevent the skin from curling. Cook until the skin is crisp and golden, which should take around five minutes. The kombu should help to trap some heat, so you may not need to flip the salmon. If you’ve removed the kombu, briefly sear the other side for about five seconds.
Preparing the Sauce:
- Kasu-Vinegar Paste: In a small pot, mix the sake lees and white wine vinegar to make a thin paste. If needed, add 15 milliliters of water to thin it out. Bring this mixture to a hard boil.
2. Emulsify Butter: Turn off the heat. Whisk in the butter cubes one at a time, ensuring each is fully emulsified before adding the next.
1. Plate and Garnish: Reheat your sauce if needed and lay it on the plate. Place the crispy, kelp-cured salmon on top. Garnish with watercress, umibudō, or your salad of choice.
This Crispy Kelp-Cured Salmon delivers a sumptuous blend of tradition and modernity, ideal for impressing guests or treating yourself to an elevated home-cooked meal.