The Common Man’s Vodka- and Gin-Cured Salmon


Serves 4 to 6

Many recipes for cured salmon call for aquavit, a Scandinavian spirit flavored with caraway, cumin, anise and citrus. Adam Longworth, the chef and co-owner of the Common Man, wanted to use a local Vermont spirit and eventually settled on equal parts of Vermont Spirits’ Vermont Vodka and Caledonia Spirits’ Barr Hill Gin. The salmon is purchased from Wood Mountain, which sources fish directly from the docks in Boston from purveyors that practice the highest standards of aquaculture.

The company places an emphasis on the shortest channel from producer to chef to table. Lorien Wroten, Adam’s partner, suggests serving the salmon with a very dry Riesling. Note: You will need a scale to measure the salt and sugar in this recipe.

  • 1 pound salmon, skin-on, preferably a piece cut from the top half of the fish
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Vermont Spirits’ Vermont Gold Vodka
  • 2 teaspoons Caledonia Spirits’ Barr Hill Gin, preferably Old Tom style
  • ¾ ounce table salt
  • ½ ounce sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds
  • ½ cup fresh, chopped dill
  • ½ cup fresh chervil, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

For serving: Grilled, sliced country bread, horseradish-flavored crème fraîche, blanched haricots verts, sliced apple and red onion

Mix the lime juice, orange juice and zest, olive oil, vodka and gin together in a small bowl. Mix the salt, sugar, fennel, coriander, dill, chervil, tarragon and pepper together in another medium-sized bowl. Choose a small nonreactive baking pan long enough to hold the salmon and line it with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of wrap hanging over all four sides.

Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with ¼ of the herb mixture and form it into the shape of the salmon. Place the salmon skin side down on top of the herb mixture. Pour the liquid mixture on top of the salmon. Pack the remaining herb mixture on top and around the salmon. Take the excess plastic wrap hanging over the sides of the pan and wrap the salmon tightly, packing the herb mixture onto the salmon and covering it as best as you can with the curing mixture.

Place the pan in the refrigerator; cure for 4 days. After the fourth day, remove the fish from the plastic wrap, wipe off the herb mixture and pat dry. Slice the salmon and serve as desired.

At the Common Man, Adam slices the salmon into paper-thin pieces and piles it atop sliced country bread that has been brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled. He tops this with horseradish-flavored crème fraîche, sliced red onion, sliced apple and blanched haricots verts.

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