Tequila Cured Salmon

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 days 45 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Inactive: 2 days
  • Cook: 5 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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One 2-pound salmon fillet, skin on

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon pureed canned chipotle in adobo

Zest of 3 limes, grated

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 cups kosher salt

2 cups light brown sugar

2 cups tequila

Pickled Red Onions, recipe follows

Herbed Goat Cream Cheese, recipe follows

Roasted Jalapeno-Cilantro Cream Cheese, recipe follows


Sliced ripe beefsteak tomatoes

Sesame, everything, poppy seed bagels

Pickled Red Onions:

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced

Herbed Goat Cream Cheese:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 ounces goat cheese

2 tablespoons milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill

Roasted Jalapeno-Cilantro Cream Cheese:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and finely diced


  1. On top of a layer of aluminum foil and plastic wrap (enough to make a pouch), put the salmon on a baking sheet skin-side down. Pat the top dry with paper towels. Combine the coriander, mustard and cumin seeds in a small saute pan over low heat and toast, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove, let cool slightly and coarsely grind in a coffee grinder. 
  2. Spread the chipotle over the top of the salmon fillet. Sprinkle the ground spices, lime zest and cilantro over and press into the flesh. Combine the salt and brown sugar in a bowl, drizzle with the tequila and then spread evenly over the salmon. Tightly wrap the salmon in the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Place another baking sheet on top of the salmon and weigh down with bricks wrapped in foil or a heavy cutting board. Refrigerate for 48 hours. 
  3. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and scrape off the curing ingredients. When cured, the fish should have a raw appearance and a firm but not hard texture. Slice the salmon against the grain paper thin and serve with accompaniments of choice.

Pickled Red Onions:

  1. Combine the vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, coriander seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. 
  2. Put the onions in a medium bowl, pour the vinegar mixture over and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours before serving.

Herbed Goat Cream Cheese:

  1. Combine the cream cheese, goat cheese, milk and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor and process until smooth and fluffy. Scrape into a bowl and fold in the scallions and dill.

Roasted Jalapeno-Cilantro Cream Cheese:

  1. Combine the cream cheese, milk and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor and process until smooth and fluffy. Scrape into a bowl and fold in the cilantro and jalapeno.

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