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Cured Salmon With Spicy Radish Sauce

Curing your own salmon is an adventure, but if that makes you nervous or you don't have time, you can always purchase prepared gravlax or smoked salmon. If you do cure your own, you need a day for marinating. A lot of ingredients go into the spicy radish sauce, but the fresh radish flavor still shines through. This recipe is adapted from one used at the Intercontinental Hotel, Buenos Aires.

Makes 4 appetizer servings

For Salmon

1 pound skinless salmon fillet

1 1/3 cups sugar

10 tablespoons salt

7 tablespoons white wine

2 cups fresh dill

For Sauce

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon water

7 tablespoons vegetable oil

7 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1 tablespoon grated spicy radish, such as Japanese karkine (equal amount prepared horseradish may be substituted)

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped cucumber

2 teaspoons capers

Salt and pepper, to taste

For Garnish

1 cup baby lettuce leaves

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

Place the salmon in a glass dish and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Pour the white wine over the salmon, cover the dish and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Remove the fish from the dish and scrape off the salt and sugar. Return the fish to the dish, top with the dill and refrigerate for 6 hours more.

For Spicy Radish Sauce

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard and water. Pouring in a very slow stream, whisk in the oil. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice the salmon very thinly on the bias, or cut into squares. Place cucumber rounds on serving plates. Top with salmon and place a bouquet of lettuce leaves on top of the salmon. Drizzle sauce around the plates and serve.

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