Author Notes: Bergamot and vanilla, it cannot get better than that. This is a really simple cure, easy to pull off and guaranteed to impress the crowd. You can substitute Earl Grey with Lapsang Souchong, –it works equally well. And yes, salmon and vanilla mayonnaise is my take on Heston Blumenthal'’s celebrated dish, although I was never fortunate enough to try it. But, one can always hope… - QueenSashy
Serves 8-10 as hors d'oeuvres
- 1 1/2 pound salmon filet, with skin on
- 1/2 cup Earl Grey loose leaf tea, crushed into fine powder
- 3/4 cups kosher salt (or 1/2 cup if you are using table salt)
- 3/4 cups turbinado sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1-2 tablespoon creme fraiche
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- A couple of drops of lemon juice (if needed)
- 2-3 tablespoons grapefruit tears/cells
- Wash the salmon and pat dry.
- In a small bowl, mix the tea, salt, sugar and pepper.
- Line a large, non-reactive dish with plastic wrap. Pour one third of the cure mixture on the bottom of the dish. Lay the salmon skin-side down, and coat evenly with the remaining cure mixture. Fold the edges of the plastic wrap and wrap the salmon tightly. Weight the salmon down with something heavy (I used a cast iron casserole filled with a 5lb flour bag). Cure in the refrigerator for three days.
- Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and carefully rinse off the cure mixture with cold water. (Even after a careful wash the traces of the cure will remain, and that’'s ok, it will look pretty when you serve. But if you really take an issue with black speckles, use whole tea leaves without crushing them into powder.) Pat the salmon dry.
- Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds carefully. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, creme fraiche and vanilla seeds. (Use mayonnaise that has a hint of lemon flavor. If not, add 2-3 drops of lemon juice. Make sure you do not overdo it.)
- With a sharp knife, slice the salmon crosswise off the skin. Serve each slice with a tiny drop of mayonnaise and a couple of grapefruit tears.