GQ's sazerac-cured salmon

GQ\'s sazerac-cured salmon
1 lb salmon
1-inch thick, skin on, bones removed
2 tbsp rye
preferrably Sazerac
1/4 cup fennel seed
lightly toasted
2 tsp black pepper
freshly ground
1/2 cup fennel bulb
thinly sliced
1/4 cup fennel fronds
1 tbsp lemon zest
from 1 whole lemon
1 cup sea salt
1 cup brown sugar
unsalted butter
softened at room temp
coarse salt
sliced thin at a diagonal
sliced at a diagonal then crisped in the oven
GQ is great at curating easy-to-make, high-impact recipes. Not every issue contains a recipe, so we make sure to grab it whenever it does. Even though the salmon needs 2 days to cure in the fridge, this recipe is a delicious and easy way to cure salmon. This interactive dish is great for entertaining and goes well with cocktails. At serving time, the butter adds extra richness and creaminess, the cucumber cuts the salt and adds crisp freshness, and the baguette gives you texture contrast. With any unused fennel bulb, we often follow this recipe with Gabrielle Hamilton's fennel baked in cream (finocchio al forno).
Baste the salmon with the whiskey and set it on a plate in the fridge.
Lightly toast the fennel seeds. Transfer them into the small bowl. Add the black pepper.
Wash and dry the fennel and lemon. Add the fennel slices into the small bowl.
Add the fennel fronds and lemon zest into the mixing bowl along with the salt and sugar. Whisk to combine.
Spread a large piece of plastic wrap on your work surface. The plastic should be about 3 times the width of the salmon. Spread half of the cure evenly across the plastic. Place the salmon into the cure skin-side down. Spread and press the remaining cure firmly over the flesh side.
Top the pressed cure with the fennel seed mixture.
Wrap the salmon tightly in the plastic wrap. Because the package will leak liquid during the curing process, store the whole package inside a 1-gallon resealable bag. Refrigerate for 2 days; flip occasionally.
Once the curing is complete, rinse off the excess salt with cold water. Pat the salmon dry then cut thinly to serve.
Serve with softened unsalted butter, coarse salt, cucumber, and crisped slices of baguette.
source: GQ Magazine