Gingered Pickled Salmon with Wasabi Sauce

This recipe was given to us from a friend, but originally comes from Staff Meals from Chanterelle by David Waltuck and Melicia Phillips. It's mostly made in advance, so not much last-minute work is required. Make sure to tell guest that the wasabi sauce packs a punch!

Serves 8 as a first course or light lunch 


  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless salmon
  • Pickling Brine


  • 1 3/4 lbs. fresh ginger, scrubbed and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tbsp. coarse (kosher) salt
  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns


This brine can be used to pickle vegetables as well as salmon.

  •  1/4 cup wasabi powder
  •  1/4 cup  rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup  water
  • 1 tablespoon  Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup  canola oil -- or other vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon  coarse salt
  • finely snipped fresh chives -- for garnish


Place all the ingredients in a large, nonreactive saucepan and bring to boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and cool at room temperature. Transfer the bring to a storage container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.


Run your fingers lightly over the salmon, feeling for bones. Remove any
you find with tweezers or your fingers. Place the salmon in a large glass
or ceramic bowl, and pour the pickling brine through a colander into the
bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Place a small plate on the salmon to hold
it under the brine. Refrigerate for at least 48 hours and as long as 3
days. The longer it stays in the brine, the more “cooked” its texture will

While the salmon is pickling, prepare the wasabi sauce: Place the wasabi
powder, vinegar, water, and mustard in the bowl of a food processor, and
pulse a few times to combine. With the machine running, slowly pour in the
oil through the feed tube, and process to form a slightly thickened sauce.
Add the salt, pulse a few times, then transfer the sauce to a container.
This sauce will keep for 1 month, covered, in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, remove the salmon from the brine, and pat it dry with
paper towels. Using a sharp knife, slice the salmon crosswise into
1/8-inch-thick slices.

To serve, fan out several slices of the salmon on a plate, drizzle with
the wasabi sauce, and garnish with the snipped chives.