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Friday 21 December 2012

Sluttishly Savoury: Gravadlax

Every year the big supermarkets go on a bit of a salmon price war, each trying to be cheaper than the others which basically means that Christmas is the only time I can afford to make this! This year's winner on price is Asda who are doing whole fish for just £4/k.

I first made this a couple of years ago using Jamie's recipe but I found it a bit too salty for my liking so have played around a bit over the two years. I also swap his vodka for gin as the juniper in the gin works brilliantly with salmon and the dill for fennel seeds as as the flavours are all pretty strong and I wanted to taste that aniseedy loveliness.

I always like to prepare the fish myself but the fishmonger will do everything for you (except maybe the pinboning bit as they are super busy at this time of year). Once cured though this bad boy will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge so it's great to make now and have it carry you across the holidays.

You'll need:

  • 1 side of salmon, skin on but descaled and pin boned (use tweezers to remove any little bones left in the flesh)
  • 100g rock salt (do not use regular or flaked as it will be really salty)
  • 100g sugar
  • 4 whole raw beetroot
  • about a golf ball sized piece of fresh horseradish root (Polish shops sell jars of grated horseradish which aren't as hot as the raw stuff so you could happily use a whole 150g jar)
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 50ml Gin
Make it!
  1. Pat your salmon dry using kitchen towel and lay skin side down in a big roasting tray, you may have to lie it diagonally and cut a bit of the tail off to make it fit, just lie the tail piece next to it.
  2. Sprinkle the salt then the sugar over the fish.
  3. Put your whole, unpeeled beetroots into a food processor with the horseradish root and fennel seeds and blitz. 
  4. Cover the fish with your mixture then pour over your gin.
  5. Cover with cling film, weight it down with some cans to help press the flavour in and the excess juice out and leave in your fridge for 3 days. Each day pour off any excess liquid that is in the tray.
  6. After 3 days scrape off the beet mixture and pat dry.
  7. Get a long, sharp knife and cut through the flesh down to, but not through, the skin at the tail end. Have your knife flat against the skin pointing towards the other end then with one hand hold the tail and pull carefully whilst slicing to remove the skin, Gordon has a really good video for this. 
  8. To serve just slice very thinly and marvel at the prettiness of the deep purple and orange flesh.

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