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Medicine Wheel Cured Salmon


Photo by Michael Stemm

This is one of Chef Rich Francis’ signature dishes.

Serves 4

Recipe courtesy of Chef Rich Francis


  • 2 lb (900 g) side of salmon, Atlantic, preferably organic, skin attached
  • 1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) kosher salt
  • 1 Tsp (15 ml) juniper berries
  • ½ bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 inch (7.5 cm) piece of braided sweetgrass (available at Indigenous Friendship Centres, and some First Nations gift shops)
  • 2 Tsp (30 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium red beet, finely grated
  • 1 small bunch of buffalo or white sage, chopped


  1. Remove skin from salmon. Set aside for salmon crackling.
  2. Make curing mixture: Blend ingredients, taking care to incorporate the beet into the mixture. Put half curing mixture on baking sheet. Place salmon on top, then cover with remaining mixture, patting down until salmon is completely covered.
  3. Place in fridge and let cure at least 4 hours, and up to 12 hours.
  4. Discard curing mixture.
  5. Rinse salmon and pat dry.
  6. Salmon may be served as is or smoked.
To plate: Ladle 2 Tbsp (30 ml) strawberry sauce on appetizer plates. Top with salmon. Garnish with wild strawberries or any other seasonal fresh berry, and/or edible wildflowers. Sprinkle with salt. Top with a piece of salmon crackling and crispy shallots (available at most grocery stores).

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