I OFTEN FIND COOKED salmon too rich, preferring to eat it raw or barely cooked, but I enjoy it most when it’s been lightly cured as in this classic gravlax. You can of course play around with the flavourings – whisky and orange zest in place of gin and dill, add extra spices like coriander or juniper, or grated raw beetroot to the mix to give the outer flesh a ruby glow.
1 tablespoon white peppercorns,
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons flaky sea salt (not iodised) 3 tablespoons finely chopped dill 600g piece salmon, skin on, pin boned 3 tablespoons aromatic gin (or vodka)
Combine the pepper, sugar, salt and dill. Put the salmon in a ceramic or glass dish and sprinkle the gin over both sides. Lift up the salmon and spread half the salt mixture in the base of the dish then top with the salmon, skin side down. Cover with the remaining salt mix, putting a little more on the thickest parts of the salmon. Cover well with plastic wrap, put a board on top and weigh down with a few cans. Cure for 2-4 days depending on how strong you want the cure to be. Every day, turn the salmon over to ensure an even cure.
Scrape off the cure (rinse if you need to), pat the salmon dry and cut into smaller pieces if necessary. Remove the skin and slice thinly to use.
Bagels, cream cheese & gravlax Toast cut halves of bagels, smear with cream cheese mixed with chopped dill, capers and black pepper, and add thinly sliced red onion and slices of gravlax.
Cucumber & fennel salad with
caper dressing Make a dressing of chopped capers, chopped chives, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Use to dress thinly sliced cucumber and fennel bulb, add thin slices of the gravlax and scatter with pink peppercorns.
BABY GEM, GRAVLAX, CARROT PICKLE & DILL SOUR CREAM DRESSING
SERVES 4 / PREPARATION 10 MINUTES / COOKING 5 MINUTES
This is also good as finger food – put a small slice of salmon and carrot pickle in each baby gem leaf, then top with a small dollop of the dill sour cream dressing.
FOR THE CARROT PICKLE 1 cup white vinegar ½ cup sugar 1 teaspoon caraway seeds 1 teaspoon salt 4 baby carrots, peeled
Put the vinegar, sugar, caraway seeds and salt in a saucepan, bring to the boil and cook until the sugar dissolves. Thinly slice the carrots (I used a mandoline), add to the pickle and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the carrot to cool in the liquid. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week.
FOR THE DRESSING & TO SERVE 4 tablespoons sour cream 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus lemon wedges to serve 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill (or use chives) 2 baby gem lettuces, leaves separated, washed, dried 2 spring onions, thinly sliced 300g gravlax, thinly sliced
Mix the sour cream, lemon juice and dill, season generously with salt and pepper, then add a tablespoon or 2 of water to loosen to a drizzling consistency. Mix the lettuce, drained carrot pickle, spring onions and gravlax in a serving dish. Drizzle with the dressing and serve with lemon wedges. (DF)(GF)(HF)