Lapsang Souchong Cured King Salmon with Ginger Lime Cream Cheese

June 15, 2013

Author Notes: The fish royalty meets the tea royalty in a smoky, peppery cure. I co-designed the cream cheese to go with it with several great Food52 minds, and you can read all about it here:

Food52 Review: WHO: QueenSashy is a scientist, blogger, and Food52 contest regular.
WHAT: Salmon cured with a smoky black tea and served with zippy lime-ginger cream (i.e. your best brunch ever).
HOW: Pack a tea-sugar-salt mixture onto a salmon fillet, then let sit in the fridge to cure. After a few days, rinse off the cure and serve slices of it on toast with a ginger-lime cream cheese.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Complexly smoky from the tea and five spice, a bit salty, a bit spicy, and buttery in texture, this salmon is incredibly simple to put together (the hardest part being waiting—but the good news is, we'd recommend a 3-day, rather than 5-day, cure). And the bright ginger-lime cream cheese was a perfect and refreshing complement—especially on a bagel.
The Editors

Serves: 12 as hors d'oeuvres


For the Salmon

  • 1 1/2 pounds king salmon filet, previously frozen per FDA standards
  • 1/2 cup Lapsang Souchong loose leaf tea, crushed into fine powder (or contents of about 15 tea bags)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

For the Cream Cheese

  • 6 to 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
In This Recipe


  1. Remove the pinbones and scales from the thawed salmon. Leave the skin on. Rinse the salmon and pat dry.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the tea, salt, sugar and spices. 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 use a cast iron casserole filled with a 5-pound flour bag). Cure in the refrigerator for three to five days.
  3. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and carefully rinse off the cure mixture with cold water. Pat the salmon dry.
  4. Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator to soften at room temperature. With a fork, mix the cream cheese well until smooth and fluffy. Add the sour cream one tablespoon at time and keep on mixing. Add the lime zest and ginger and mix well until fully incorporated.
  5. With a sharp knife, slice the salmon crosswise off the skin. Serve with fresh bread, cream cheese, and some Sriracha sauce on the side.

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