2 pounds salmon, fresh, trimmed with any pin bones removed an portioned as needed
for the brine ...
1/4 cup kosher salt, fine grind
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 quart water, ice cold
for the cure ...
1/2 cup kosher salt, coarse
4 tablespoons maple sugar
for finishing the salmon ...
As needed Lake Effect Seasoning
As needed olive oil
As needed lime wedges, fresh
Preheat the water bath of the VacMaster SV1 to you desired temperature or 115°F/46°C to 120°F/49°C for a super-moist flesh that’s a bit translucent and gently flaking.
If using a brine
In a suitable non-reactive container that will hold the salmon pieces, whisk the fine kosher salt with the maple syrup and water until thoroughly dissolved.
Submerge the salmon in the brine and place the bowl in a VacMaster chamber machine and set to level 2 and start. The process will take 18 minutes.
Alternatively refrigerate the salmon, covered, for 30 minutes.
If using the dry brine/cure
In a suitable non-reactive small container, blend the coarse kosher salt thoroughly with the maple sugar. Thoroughly coat the fish with the salt mixture on all sides and let the salmon cure refrigerated about 15-20 minutes or so.
Remove the salmon fillets from the brine or the cure and rinse well with fresh, cold water.
Pat the salmon fillets dry and gently place individually or together in a suitable- sized VacMaster bag along with a tablespoon or so of olive oil for each fillet.
Using a VacMaster suction or chamber machine, vacuum seal the bag(s).
Carefully place the salmon in the water of the SV1 at your chosen temperature and cook for 30 minutes or up to a maximum of 1 hour.
Remove the salmon from the water bath and gently remove the salmon from the bag.
Gently pat the salmon dry with paper towels and dust liberally on all sides with the Lake Effect seasoning.
Preheat an appropriate sized nonstick skillet over high heat
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.
Immediately add the salmon skin side down for 30-45 seconds or so to sear and crisp the skin.
Gently turn to the flesh side to crisp up 15-30 seconds or so.
Repeat with remaining salmon.
Plate the salmon and season with a bit freshly squeezed lime juice.
Season with a squeeze of the lime wedges and serve immediately.
Most home cooks generally buy ready-cut fish fillets from the grocery store, but most professionals prefer purchasing whole fish, or in this case, a whole side to portion in any size they see fit. After trimming away and excess fins or similar from the whole side, I like to make one large lengthwise cut separating the belly from the loin then cut each piece into rough squares. That being said, any cut of salmon you choose will work for this recipe.
Most fish, especially salmon, offer the cook a ridiculously wide range of textures that were basically unavailable with conventional cooking techniques. Starting at 105°F or 41°C, you can create an almost raw, yet cooked fillet that has the texture of sashimi. Then with every 5°F increment up to 140°F, you can run over the entire textural plain all the way to a firm oven baked- like texture you probably remember as a child!
I enjoy all the temperatures and textures that sous vide offers, especially for salmon. The lower temperatures create a unique culinary experience that offer show-stopping small tastes or appetizers that showcase this precision cooking technique.
When I want to enjoy salmon for a basic entrée, I like 115°F/46°C to 120°F/49°C. The flesh will be bit translucent on the lower temperature side and starting to flake. If for some reason that’s not enough, for some diners, a minute or so extra in the finishing pan will drastically change the fish to their liking.