A simple cure is a mixture of sugar and salt which is rubbed into fish in order to draw out moisture and preserve it by killing any bacteria present. Cured trout is readily available in the supermarkets, but it is much cheaper to do it at home and lasts for a long time in the fridge. It’s also an impressive dish to serve to guests, considering the small amount of work it takes.
Coarse salt is most often used for curing as it is less refined, and the large crystals help to draw out more moisture. The sugar will not give the trout a sweet flavour, but helps to bulk out the salt so that the fish is not too strongly flavoured.
Try adding other herbs and spices to the cure – fennel seeds, coriander seeds, juniper berries and dill all work well. You could also try a wet cure with beetroot juice for a striking effect, as Nathan Outlaw does in his beetroot-cured salmon recipe. Some people like to wash the fish in alcohol such as rum or vodka before curing for extra flavour.
Cured trout makes a wonderful starter served with some crisp rye bread and horseradish cream. You could also try serving cured trout with a fragrant, crunchy coleslaw, as Anna Hansen does in her salmon gravlax recipe, or use trout instead of salmon to make Luke Tipping’s Cured salmon with avocado purée and caviar.
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