1 side of salmon, skin off and pin bones removed (about 1 kilogram)
1 teaspoon each whole fennel seed and aniseed (see Cook’s note)
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
finely grated zest 1 large lemon
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons ouzo
Curing mix: Lightly toast the seeds in a dry sauté pan then roughly grind in a mortar and pestle. Tip into a bowl and use your fingers to rub in the pepper, thyme, lemon zest, sugar and salt. Add the ouzo and stir to form a mixture resembling wet sand.
To assemble: Line a tray or plate with a large piece of clingfilm, leaving enough overhanging to cover the tray or plate again. Sprinkle half the curing mix over the flat side of the salmon and
place on the clingfilm, cured side down. Sprinkle over the remaining cure, patting it onto the flesh. Use the overhanging clingfilm to wrap up and cover completely. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
To serve: Scrape the cure off the salmon and wipe the flesh clean with damp paper towels. Slice thinly with a sharp knife. Serve with fennel salad and crème fraîche, if desired.
Cook’s note: Aniseed is not the same as star anise. Aniseed is the spice used to make the French drink pastis and is widely used in Europe and the Middle East to flavour breads and cakes. Star anise is a small star-shaped spice with 5-6 points, each containing a seed. It is used in Chinese five spice and many Asian recipes. Aniseed is available from gourmet and specialty food stores.