500 gram piece of centre cut salmon, skinned
3 tablespoons saké
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Maldon sea salt
finely grated zest 1 large lime
4 double kaffir lime leaves, very finely chopped
1 stalk of lemongrass, tender inner part only, very finely chopped
½ cup crème fraîche
2 teaspoons lime juice
wasabi paste to taste
3 radishes, julienne
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Remove the pin bones from the salmon using tweezers.
Put the sugar, salt, lime zest, kaffir lime leaves and the lemongrass in a bowl. Rub the mixture between your fingertips to infuse the salt and sugar with the oils from the kaffir leaves and the lemongrass. The mixture should turn a pale green colour. Stir in the saké so the mixture resembles wet sand.
Lay a piece of plastic wrap, about 35 cm long, on the bench and sprinkle with half the cure to cover an area the same size as the salmon. Place the salmon on top and spread the remaining cure evenly over the top. Wrap tightly to ensure the juices created as the salmon cures won’t leak out. Place on a small lipped tray and put a small board on top. Weigh it down with something heavy such as a couple of tins of tomatoes.
Refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours for a light cure or up to 24 hours.
To serve: Put the crème fraîche and lime juice in a bowl and whisk in wasabi paste to taste.
Unwrap the salmon and transfer to a large plate, discarding the liquid. Scrape the cure off the salmon and wipe with a damp kitchen towel. Slice the salmon thinly with a very sharp knife.
Scatter the radishes over a large serving platter, arrange the salmon on top and spoon a small dollop of the crème fraîche and a sprinkling of chives on each slice. Serve the remaining sauce separately.
Saké: a Japanese liquor brewed from fermented rice. Like whiskey, saké varies in quality, taste and style. Available from Japanese grocery and some liquor stores.