Girls’ Night in 5 is a monthly “how-to” series containing Girls’ Night friendly recipes with 5 or fewer ingredients and no more than 5 minutes of active prep!  This series is part of my mission to simplify entertaining to encourage readers to invest in their community through hosting and loving people well.

It seems that summer has burst onto the scene without any gradual warm-up or how-do-you-do.  I will never complain about a sunny day!  Just so long as things stay below 85 degrees.  Please and thank you. I melt into a puddle beyond 85.  That is my cut-off.  But, lets keep these low-mid 70 degree days coming!!

When the temperatures do creep up, summer cooking becomes outdoor grilling or not at all.  Hello, salad.  Making a pan of brownies for girls night makes me want to stick my head in the fridge. Because Seattle = no AC. And why would I want to make my house even hotter??

So, I’m pulling out some old school tricks.  Alright ya’ll, who can name the three ways to “cook” the proteins in fish?

  1.  The obvious one is heat (i.e. the typical way).
  2.  The second is salt (Think scandinavian grav-lox and dried meats like jerky).
  3. The third way is to use an acid – like vinegar or lemon juice (Think ceviche.).

We are using the 3rd method here.

Over the course of a few hours in the fridge, the lemon juice will cook the proteins and the salmon will take on the light refreshing flavors of lemon and dill.  With literally no effort from you.  Making them perfect for girls night! (Photos above are before chill time and photos below are after.)

This recipes falls within my 5 minutes of prep and 5 ingredient guidelines, making them the EASIEST, refreshing, yet filling snack for nibbling at girls night!!  Plus, its called “Lemon Cured Salmon with Creme Fraiche.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds and feels a whole lot fancier than most things I eat.  And, girls’ night should be about trying something fun, different, and fancy-ish.

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Nothing says girls’ night more than a rose!  Try a really dry rose for this dish to balance the richness of the salmon.  Any crisp and dry white wine like pinot grigio will work well.  Due to the acidity and dill, I would stay away from chardonnays, which are probably the most traditional wines to pair with salmon.

Citrus Cured Salmon with Creme Fraiche

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 6 hours, 5 minutes

Yield: 6+ servings

  • 1 lb. previously frozen, sashimi grade, or frozen salmon fillet, thinly sliced and cut into 2" long sections
  • Juice from 1 lemon, plus slices of lemon
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill weed, plus additional fronds for garnish
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 c. creme fraiche
  • crackers, for serving

Please note, if you can't find sashimi grade salmon, purchasing salmon that is frozen or previously frozen is really important since we aren't technically cooking the fish with heat. I almost always buy previously frozen fish for this recipe (rather than sashimi grade), but if you are nervous, sashimi grade would be the safest options.

On a rimmed baking sheet or 9x13" pyrex, arrange sliced salmon in a thin layer. Pour lemon juice evenly over the top. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Flip salmon over and sprinkle the other side with salt and pepper as well. Sprinkle with chopped dill and additional fronds.

Refrigerate for 6-12 hours prior to serving. Arrange a piece of salmon on crackers with a dollop of creme fraiche and dill for garnish.


Total time includes minimum suggested chilling time, which in this recipe is essentially the "cooking" process.