In this week's Chef and Tell interview, Martin Campos, exec chef of Comida at the Source, admits that while he was a picky eater as a kid, a seafood feast in Oregon -- his first food epiphany -- paved the way for a future in cooking. The chef is still obsessed with seafood and fish, including salmon ceviche, the recipe of which he shares on the following page. "The size of the salmon you have will dictate how long it takes to cure, but count on twelve hours of curing for every pound of salmon, and write down the date and time that you started the curing process so you can be as accurate as possible," advises Campos.
Tequila-cured salmon ceviche tostada with kalamata olive-fig salsa, Serrano peppers and Pink Lady apples
For the tequila-cured salmon
1 side of salmon (3-4 pounds, skin on and pin bones removed) 1 cup kosher salt 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup rough chopped cilantro 1 tablespoon ground cumin Zest of two limes 1/2 cup blanco tequila (something you would drink)
1. Score the skin of the salmon every 2 inches until the last 4 inches of tail end. 2. Place all ingredients, except the salmon, in a mixing bowl and blend well. 3. Lay the salmon skin side down on a sheet pan and massage the tequila into the salmon. Evenly spread 1/3 of the cure mixture on the sheet pan the same size of the salmon and lay the salmon skin side down on the cure mixture. Evenly spread the rest of the cure mixture on top of the salmon. 4. Wrap the tray or pan with plastic and place in the refrigerator. 5. Once the salmon is cured, rinse the remaining cure off with cold water and pat the salmon dry. Slice the salmon thinly against the grain.
For the kalamata olive-fig salsa
10 ounces kalamata olives, drained, seeds removed and minced 8 dried white or black figs, minced 2 jalapeno peppers, minced 1 shallot, minced Juice of two limes Zest of one lemon 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced 1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper 1 pinch of salt
1 package tostada shells (or make your own) 1 Pink Lady apple, thinly sliced 1 Serrano pepper, minced
1. Place all ingredients (olives through salt) in a mixing bowl and blend well. Set aside. 2. Distribute salmon pieces evenly among tostada shells, and place thinly sliced apples and Serrano peppers between the ribbons of salmon. 3. Top each tostada evenly with salsa (the salsa is strong, so a little goes a long way). 4. Garnish with cilantro leaves or micro greens and a squeeze of lime and serve.