Soy-Cured Salmon, Asian Pear, and Cilantro Crème Fraîche

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This Asian version of gravlax uses soy sauce to cure the salmon in place of salt. The result is a rich sweet-saltiness in the fish, punctuated by the heat of the ginger and chile. The crème fraîche dipping sauce counters with a cooling effect, as does the crunchy Asian pear.

4 servings

Cooking Methodcuring



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCocktail Party

Recipe Coursecold appetizer

Dietary Considerationlactose-free, peanut free, tree nut free


Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturelight, salty, savory, spiced, umami


  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • One 2-inch piece fresh young ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 fresh green Thai chile, chopped
  • One 9-ounce salmon fillet, skinned, trimmed, and halved lengthwise
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 2 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup sliced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime zest, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon minced fresh green Thai chile
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup diced Asian pear


  1. To make the salmon: Put the soy sauce, cilantro, ginger, and chile in a blender and purée until the mixture is blended, but still chunky. Transfer to a shallow bowl, submerge the salmon completely in the brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 hours.

  2. Remove the salmon from the brine and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices.

  3. To make the sauce: Put the crème fraîche, scallions, cilantro, lime zest, and chile in a small mixing bowl and mix well. Stir in the lime juice and salt.

  4. Spoon a pool of the sauce onto each serving plate. Decoratively lay the salmon slices on top of the sauce and garnish with the Asian pear and lime zest. Serve immediately.

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