Rum and Vanilla Cured Salmon

Vanilla and rum give a twist to this classic cured salmon recipe.




Makes 3 lb (1½ kg) cured salmon

1     side of salmon, skin on, all scales & bones removed, keep belly
1     bottle dark rum, such as Meyer’s, Gosling’s or Stolen Rum
1     cup (250 ml) kosher or sea salt
3     Tbsp (45 ml) brown sugar
1    Tbsp (15 ml) cracked black pepper
3     Tbsp (45 ml) anise seeds
3     Tbsp (45 ml) coriander seeds, toasted and ground
4     cumin seeds, lightly toasted
2     Tbsp (30 ml) vanilla pods

In a large shallow container, marinate the side of salmon in dark rum at room temperature for 1½ to 2 hours. Massage the salmon every 20 minutes in the rum as it cures, which kills any microorganisms living on the flesh.

Mix together the salt, sugar, pepper, anise, coriander and cumin seeds in a small bowl. Split and scrape the vanilla pods and rub the vanilla seeds into the salt–sugar mixture until well combined. Add the pods and vanilla extract to the mixture, combining well.

Remove salmon from rum and pat dry.

In a large shallow dish, sprinkle about one-third of the vanilla salt mixture on the bottom. Place salmon on top of this, then cover the salmon evenly with the remaining salt mixture and press down with your hands.

Place in refrigerator for about 2 days, then remove all salt and rinse under cold water. Pat dry.

To serve, slice thinly onto serving platter and serve with crème fraîche, capers and microgreens.

Where It All Started

My first vanilla story comes from an old lady name Rosario, who used to live in the same building as me in New York when I was 9 years old. She had vanilla perfume and I used to follow her round just to smell her. I was fascinated with the perfume…until she told me it was vanilla and I immediately thought, vanilla? That’s what my mama adds to desserts, no wonder I like the scent.

Vanilla ice cream is one of my most guilty pleasures of all time, and I made sure I was the first one to give vanilla ice cream to my kids. I can never forget their faces. I remember exactly the date I gave Dario, my youngest, vanilla ice cream. He was 9 months old and, well, I wanted him to taste the most delicious flavour in the world. He loved it so much, that he ended up crying and having a temper tantrum because he wanted more. I realised then that we were going to share the same passion – vanilla ice cream! –D.R.


Recipes reprinted with permission from Jacqui Small LLP, part of the Quarto Publishing Group, 2015. Photographs © Manja Wachsmuth, 2013. This recipe first appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.