The winning recipe for our 2016 member's contest comes from Adonija Tienou of Chicago! This creative recipe is all about the flavors. He uses gin—describing it as "a vastly underused cooking ingredient"—because of its distinct and unusual flavors, like thyme, juniper, coriander, and fennel. Adonija's secret is to use a really good aromatic gin and he told us "I love the bold and clean flavors in Deaths Door Gin" because "I think they complement the rich flavors in wild salmon."
⅓ cup coarse sea salt
⅓ cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon (roughly 1½ teaspoons)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, stripped and rubbed
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of gin (Adonija highly recommends Death's Door gin)
2 (8-ounce) salmon fillets Available in Our Seafood Subscription Box
1-3 tablespoons neutral oil (rice bran, grapeseed oil, etc.)
Preheat oven to 225 °F.
Mix together salt, sugar, lemon zest, thyme, and pepper. Add gin. The mixture should resemble wet sand. Adonija notes that you can store this rub in an airtight container in the fridge for at least one week, and it also works great on grilled lamb chops!
Rub salmon fillets with the cure, using approx. 1 tablespoon for every 8 ounces of fish. Wrap fillets tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and no more than 2 hours. Cook fish right away, or store in fridge for up to 1 day.
To prepare for cooking, rinse off fish and pat dry with paper towel. Rub lightly with a high-quality oil, such as rice bran or grape seed oil. Bake at 225 °F for 25-30 minutes. Begin to check fish at about 20 minutes. Be careful to not overcook (i.e. the fish should not be leaching white proteins.)
Best enjoyed immediately!