This is one of the simplest, most elegant dishes imaginable. You simply get a spanking fresh fillet of salmon - preferably from the centre section of the fish - and ask the fishmonger to skin it for you. Then cover it in a paste of herbs and salt, leave it overnight then wash off the cure, pat the fish dry and slice thin as you can.
You end up with a decadently fabulous plate of salmon, gently flavoured with ginger and herbs, the flesh almost ethereally rich. Presented simply with pickled ginger and Japanese soy for dipping it is definitely a contender for most fabulous starter ever.
200g salmon fillet, taken from the centre of the fish, skinned
1 large bunch coriander, chopped, stems and all
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated ginger
Chopped zest of a lemon
Mix everything together except the fish. Put the fish skin side down in to a non-reactive dish - enamel, china or glass. Cover with the cure mix and pat it into the flesh. Cover the dish with cling film and refrigerate for 12 - 18 hours. In this time a lot of liquid will come out of the fish.
Take the fish out of the dish, scrape off the herb mix, rinse quickly under the cold tap and pat dry with kitchen towel. Slice very very thinly and lay out on a flat plat.
Serve with separate bowls of pickled ginger - any asian supermarket will sell it - and some Japanese soy.