Skip to main content

It’s Salmon Season: Chef Tres Jackson’s Fennel and Salt Cured Salmon Recipe

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Get out your fishing tackle — or at least your cooking gear — because it’s salmon season. To get the best insider tips on fish preparation, we reached out to Chef Tres Jackson who recently opened his restaurant Sorghum and Salt.

Sorghum and Salt opened earlier this year in Charleston, South Carolina, and has received nothing short of rave reviews. To learn more about a chef’s life, what ingredients every kitchen should have, and how to prepare an out-of-this-world salmon dish, we asked Chef Tres Jackson to give us the lowdown.

Chef Tres Jackson, that’s in interesting name. Do you have a family story that gives some background on who you are and what dishes you create?

We were always around food growing up as my mom always cooked and still does a good bit. In the summers when we visited relatives I would often end up shelling peas and shucking corn with aunts and uncles. That was not always the most fun as a kid but it is certainly relevant to me and my work now – especially as people place more and more of an emphasis on where things come from — and rightly so.

Now that you’re back in South Carolina after running your own restaurant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama — what experiences did you bring with you to Sorghum and Salt in Charleston?

I think all restaurants have their challenges. I also believe they have their own heartbeat and personality, which are ever evolving. Cooking locally and seasonally forces a chef to constantly adapt and find new ways to stay on top of things. As far as Sorghum & Salt goes, we have really tried to embrace that and be interactive with our guests.

A quick look at the current menu shows a healthy balance of offerings, including a plethora of vegetarian choices along with equal numbers of seafood and meat dishes to choose from — not to mention enticing desserts. Is there an ideology behind the creation of your menus?

As far as the menu goes, it will change constantly and evolve from season to season. I think that you have to do that for you and your staff to stay engaged as well as to keep regular customers interested. I believe that restaurants can and should have an ongoing dialogue with their guests and purveyors. I would also say that our menu will always lean towards being very vegetable-driven and that when we do meat and seafood we are very selective about what we buy and where from. We really try to use lesser cuts and incorporate them into dishes as part of a dish in most cases and not the center of the dish.

Now that we’re in salmon season, any pro tips for the layman when it comes to preparing a proper fish dish — any major do’s or don’ts?

Salmon is a great fish, but it can be tricky for people to buy. There is so much farm-raised fish with chemicals that you have to be careful of. Always buy wild-caught salmon or organically-farmed. I do think Salmon is a versatile fish and that you do not have to do much to cook it properly as it’s very forgiving because of the high fat content. If you source correctly, it goes with a lot of different things. I like salmon with yogurt, root vegetables, olive oil and lots of different herbs, seeds and nuts.

Your restaurant Sorghum and Salt is receiving nothing but rave reviews. Literally, there is not a single negative review anywhere. To what do you attribute the positive feedback?

We are truly excited and blessed with the feedback and reception we have received. I think it comes down to just striving to be authentic and being able to tell the story of the ingredients and who brought them to us. Being welcoming and unpretentious is part of the culture here. With a constantly changing menu, we always have new things to speak about and showcase. Lastly, it really comes down to staff being engaged and caring and they have been great.

Just for fun, what is one thing you believe should be in every kitchen?

Good olive oil, yogurt, finishing salt.

In addition to sharing his story and a little about his new restaurant, Chef Tres Jackson wanted to share his recipe for a Salt and Fennel Cured Salmon. It is a simple but impressive technique that can be used at home to impress friends and family during Salmon season:

Fennel and Salt Cured Salmon

*This Recipe also works with Sunburst Trout out of Ashville, NC


  • 1 lb Kosher Salt
  • 1 head of Fennel roughly chopped (reserve fronds for garnish)
  • 4 – 4 oz Salmon Filets (1-inch thick)

To Cure:

  • Grind the fennel with the salt in a food processor until its well incorporated
  • Completely submerge the fish in the salt and cure for 30 minutes (*for Sunburst Trout or thinner filets cure for 20 minutes)
  • Rinse the filets well to completely wash off all salt

To Prepare:

  • Get a cast iron pan super-hot and coat with a couple drops of grapeseed oil.
  • Sear the salmon on the skin side until the skin is crisp and does not stick.
  • Sear lightly on the other side of the filet and remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes and come up to medium rare.
  • Season with finishing salt.

Editors' Recommendations

Hendrik Broekelschen
When not leading active travel adventures around the world -- believe it or not, it's his job -- Hendrik strives to be…
Turn dysfunctional nights into functional days with Cloud Water
Cloud Water Survivalist drink pack in box with 12 varied cans.

Ditch the hangovers, embrace the good vibes! Whether you're dragging after a late night or need a refresh, Cloud Water's got your back. Their "functional beverages for dysfunctional people" are a delicious way to feel energized and revitalized sans the dehydration and regret of sugary indulgences. There's +Energy for a quick boost when you need it most, +Immunity to give your body a vitamin-fueled pick-me-up, and +CBD for when you want to take the edge off. At the heart of Cloud Water's offerings is the 12-can Survivalist pack, which includes quite a selection of flavors and drink styles. Give it a try right now, or keep reading to learn what's included in the Survivalist pack.
Try a Sip Now
Why Cloud Water's Survivalist pack may be for you
Packed inside the Survivalist pack -- with 12 cans total -- you'll find the following:

4 x Peach, Mango, and Green Tea +Energy
2 Blackberry Lemon Rosemary +Immunity
2 Blood Orange Coconut +Immunity
2 Watermelon Ginger +CBD
2 Half Tea Lemonade +CBD

Read more
Bourbon snifters: What they’re good for, which bourbon you should drink from them, and more
Why you should have bourbon snifters, and what to drink from them

If you’re new to bourbon, you probably pour your favorite whiskey into a rocks glass with or without ice and sip it while you binge-watch the newest show du jour on Netflix and call it good. And while that’s all well and good, as we aren’t here to tell anyone how to imbibe whiskey, you might not be enjoying it as much as you could be. That’s to say that there are whiskey glasses designed to elevate and heighten your whiskey-tasting experience.

Don’t believe us? Just take your classic rocks glass, for example. It’s fairly uniform and unexciting. It’s designed for cocktails. That’s because when you drink an Old Fashioned. Sazerac, or Whiskey Sour the experience is all about the various flavors the ingredients (when combined with whiskey) create.

Read more
Rum 101: An enthusiast’s guide to understanding the different types of rum
After you read this rum guide, you'll know which are your favorites

Rum's importance in the grand history of American drinking stretches back to before the U.S. became a country. Rum was a necessity in the Colonial days, both as an item for trade and as one of the primary means of getting good and wasted. When the country was just getting on its feet, whiskey as we know it hadn't quite made an impact yet. That left, rum and hard cider and other imports.

Nowadays, rum is crafted in many parts of the globe, with producers employing traditional rum-making methods and a multitude of blending and aging techniques. Given its strong influence in the world, it’s important to know what rum is, how it’s made, as well as the different types of rum that are available out there.

Read more