Recipe by: Robin Song, Executive Chef, Hog & Rocks | Serving Size: 4
Lightly toast the fennel seed and mix into remainder of spices, including the bay leaf (the bay leaves might not grind well but that’s ok), and grind to a medium consistency. Mix spices with salt and sugar and set aside. *If you only wish to cure a small piece of fish, this mixture can be stored until you need more. If curing a whole side, make sure you have a container that can hold the fillet (2 sheet pans will work, or a casserole dish). Sprinkle half the salt and spice mixture onto bottom of pan/dish, aiming for a single layer of salt and spice just larger than the piece of fish. Lay half of the fresh dill on top. Place salmon skin side down, then remainder of dill on top of the fish with remainder of spice mixture and sprinkle the absinthe on top. If the salt mixture does not cover the whole fish that’s ok. Place the other sheet pan or casserole dish on top with a small weight. Let sit in refrigerator for 4 days, until just firm. *After the first day, a good amount of liquid will form; do not remove the brine that comes out from the fish, as this is what will season and cure the fish. On the third day, flip the fish over so the flesh is now sitting in the brine. This will help speed up the process. **If curing a smaller piece of fish, follow the same instructions above, but just start with a single layer of seasoning, just the size of the fish.
Preheat the oven to 375. Rinse off beets and place in a roasting pan. Cut the orange in half. Juice into pan and add remaining orange. Toss in a heavy pinch of salt, along with half the oil (if you wish to add any herbs this is a good time; bay leaves are nice or even some fresh thyme). Cover tightly with foil (you really want to maintain a tight seal to contain the steam, as it will help make a nice tender beet without drying out) Check at 40 minutes by piercing with a sharp knife (there should be little to no resistance). If still tough, check in 10 minute increments until tips are tender. Set aside and let cool. Once cooled, peel the beets and cut into bite sized pieces. Toss with remaining oil and vinegar and season with salt to taste. De-crust bread and cube into bite size pieces. Heat canola in a frying pan and toss bread cubes in oil. Season with salt and keep the bread moving over a medium heat until golden brown. To assemble, place small pile of beets down on the plate, rough chop the avocado and place atop. Scatter croutons and drape the salmon over the top. Garnish with dill.