Pepper-Cured Salmon with Barley, Pumpkin, and Chanterelles

Greg Higgins

Higgins, Portland, OR



  • 1 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 side deboned sockeye salmon (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
  • 2 ounces vodka

Pepper Rub:

  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground black peppercorns 
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground green peppercorns 
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground pink peppercorns 

Raifort Creme Frâiche:

  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated horseradish 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Marinated Golden Chanterelles:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound golden chanterelles, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 shallots, julienned
  • 2 ají dulce chiles, seeded and julienned
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To serve:

  • 2 cups cooked naked barley 
  • 2 cups pumpkin, julienned
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 radish sprouts 
  • 4 ounces salmon caviar


Prepare the salmon: mix together the salt, sugar, spices, and citrus zest in a bowl. In a non-reactive pan, sprinkle an even layer of the salt and spice mixture. Place the sockeye in the pan skin-side down and moisten it with the vodka. Cover the salmon with the remaining salt mixture and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. 

Remove the salmon from the brine and rinse gently under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Season the salmon generously with the peppercorn rub and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make the raifort crème fraîche: in a bowl, mix together the crème fraîche, horseradish, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Make the marinated golden chanterelles: warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the chanterelles and the shallots and cook until the shallots soften slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chiles and season to taste with lemon juice, salt, pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, then remove from the heat and adjust seasoning to taste. Cool, cover and refrigerate.

To serve: thinly slice the cured sockeye on a 45-degree bias so there are 2 to 3 slices per portion. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked barley, raw pumpkin, and the chanterelles with their marinade. Adjust the seasoning to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Place a portion of the salad on each plate and fan the slices of cured fish beside it. Add a dollop of the crème frâiche and top with a spoon of the salmon caviar. Garnish each plate with the radish sprouts. Serve with a chilled Pinot Gris or dry Riesling.


6 to 8 servings as an appetizer