Steven Goff loves lox on a bagel with cream cheese. But like many other chefs, he is also an advocate for locally farmed and foraged ingredients, and salmon don’t swim anywhere near Asheville, North Carolina, where Goff has lived and worked for more than a decade, most recently at the acclaimed King James Public House. “I don’t like to use ingredients from too far away, and salmon are incredibly far away,” he says. “What we do have here is great trout.” Goff cures fillets in a mixture of North Carolina sweet potato vodka, dill, citrus, and spices, and serves the resulting lox over bagels and salads. Made with freshly caught fish, it’s delicious enough to make a person forget salmon lox altogether.
Food & Drink
An Asheville Chef’s Southern Lox
Photo: Margaret Houston
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 tsp. coriander seeds
8 sprigs fresh dill
2 dried bay leaves, crumbled
Zest of 1 citrus fruit - lemon, orange, or lime all work
4 trout fillets, pinbones removed
1/2 cup Covington sweet potato vodka, or another vodka
Combine all salt, sugar, spices, herbs, and zest in a mixing bowl. Make a generous layer of the mixture on the bottom of one large, deep baking dish. Add the trout fillets to the cure, flesh side down. Top with another generous layer of the cure, and then pour vodka over the top until the mixture resembles wet sand. Cover the baking dish loosely with plastic wrap, and then stack another dish of the same size on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a gallon of milk or a few cans. Let sit it sit in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours: The fish will be cured after 12 hours, but will have a firmer texture after 24.
To serve, rinse off the cure, and then dry the trout thoroughly and cut it into thin slices.
Recipe from chef Steven Goff