Raw cured salmon is truly delicious – more so than fresh salmon in my humble opinion. If you’ve had it from the supermarket, you really do need to try the real thing – a delicacy combining richness and subtlety, sweetness with a hint of spice and the wonderful flavour of fresh dill. In this case, it’s a recipe including both beetroot (for the gorgeous purplish tinge as much as flavour) and fresh horseradish too to add a touch of heat to the mix.
Needless to say, the best quality, freshest salmon is essential for this dish. Wild salmon would add a gamier flavour, though farmed is fine.
It’s not difficult to do, but part 2 of the story comes after 4 days. The finished product is tinged beetroot red, is firm, slices easily and tastes divine! It has the depth of flavour you would expect, so give it a whirl!
PS. Turns out my dad used to love making gravad lax. Like father, like son!
- A large filleted tail piece of salmon, halved lengthways, skin left, pin bones removed with tweezers
- Plain vodka
- Granulated sugar
- Sea salt flakes (I used Maldon smoked salt)
- Coarsely ground black pepper (I cracked it in a pestle & mortar)
- large bunch of dill, roughly chopped
- Raw beetroot, grated
- Fresh horseradish, grated
- Line a dish big enough to hold the salmon with a double layer of aluminum foil (I used the same dish I use for making lasagne).
- Put the salmon pieces in the dish, skin down & rub with a little vodka.
- Mix together the sugar, salt, pepper, dill, beet and horseradish. Spread over the salmon.
- Pour the rest of the vodka over the fish
- Put one piece of salmon (skin up) on top of the other.
- Pull the foil up around the fish, then put some weights on top (I used tins of beans!)
- Refrigerate and let cure for 3-4 days, turning occasionally. Liquid will seep out of the salmon, which you can discard
- Remove the foil and scrape the cure and the skin off both pieces of fish.
- Slice thinly and serve with brown bread and butter, plus some sweet dill mustard and maybe salad as a starter or snack.
- Use as needed, then wrap and keep in the fridge for a week. It also freezes well.