Former CHOW Associate Food Editor Aida Mollenkamp talks through the steps that get your slab of salmon from raw to cured, a 24-hour exercise in simple kitchen chemistry. Preserving salmon in salt breaks down a protein called myosin in the muscle; the aromatics add flavor. Weighting it down draws out the liquid. Use two nested pans or, as shown here, two baking sheets; just make sure that the top one is pressing down on the fish enough to force out the moisture. Once the salmon is cured it will last four to five days, refrigerated, and can be used in many recipes or just laid out as an appetizer at a dinner party.

Take a look at the recipe for the details.

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