It’s day two of Cinco De Mayo Week at The Tomato Tart and I’m really excited to share this recipe with you. In the words of my husband it is “SOOOO GOOD” and then when he took some to work, it was “extremely popular” and then just “gone”. I’m talking about Latin-spiced smoked salmon. It’s kind of like spicy fish candy- unless that sounds gross to you. Then it’s not like that at all.
Being a nice Jewish girl (eh, half), lox has been ubiquitous in my life, but I have never made my own. I’ve read, bookmarked, ogled, and pinned, countless recipes, but it wasn’t until a week ago that I finally decided to make it. When I got home, I realized I’d forgotten the dill. Unwilling to go back out, I looked at the giant bunch of cilantro sitting in the glass on my butcher block, and the wheels began to turn.
What if I made a Latin-Spiced Lox? Could it be delicious? Would my grandmother turn in her grave? Is that the silliest expression of all time? In true rebel fashion, I bucked tradition & reached for the cumin seeds, hot smoked paprika, paper lantern chilies (aye papi those are hot), sea salt, brown sugar, white sugar, and cilantro. Two days later Latin Spiced Homemade Lox were born. Thank goodness.
I cut some of the lox into chunks, put them on homemade chips with avocado and ate them like cured salmon tartar. This is a new favorite smoked salmon appetizer! Again, with the chunks– a taco with more avocado, a tiny drizzle of crème fraiche, some chopped green onion, cilantro, and a warm corn tortilla. So so good. The rest of the lox, I sliced traditionally thin and ate them with nothing but a little shmear of chevre and cilantro- no bread, no bagel. I couldn’t have anything interfere with the lox. Too good.
Have you ever made lox or gravlax? What did you think?
INGREDIENTS LATIN SPICED LOX
- ½ of a wild salmon, skin on, pin bones removed (roughly 2-2.5 lbs) I used Coho Salmon
- 4 oz organic cane sugar (112.5 grams, 1/2 cup)
- 4 oz muscavado sugar (112.5 grams, 1/2 cup packed)
- 4 oz sea salt (112.5 grams, scant half cup)
- one tablespoon cumin seeds
- one half teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- one quarter teaspoon hot ground chili (optional) I used paper lantern chili
- a large handful of cilantro leaves and stems
INSTRUCTIONS DIY LATIN SPICED LOX
- Mix together the cane sugar, muscavado, sea salt, cumin seeds, paprika, and chili powder (if using) until well combined. Spread over the skin and flesh of salmon. Pack with cilantro leaves. Wrap very tightly in plastic wrap.
- Place the salmon inside of a baking dish just large enough to contain it. Then place another dish on top of the well-wrapped salmon. Top that with something heavy, I used two 28 oz cans of tomatoes. Then refrigerate.
- In 24 hours, drain some of the liquid from the baking dish and flip the salmon, do not unwrap.
- In another 24 hours, unwrap fish, and check for doneness. Fish should feel firm and have a bright orange to red color. If it feels ready, rinse the fish (gently) and get ready to slice. Otherwise, leave it for another 12-24 hours to intensify the flavor.
- When ready to slice, run your knife parallel to the skin side of the fish, as close to the skin as possible, to skin it. Then slice on the diagonal and serve.