• Louise Clarke

Beetroot And Vodka Cured Salmon



Much like a rather glamorous best friend, Beetroot and Vodka Cured Salmon is outstandingly good looking, somehow oozes style and can be happily relied upon to enhance all sorts of occasions.


Beetroot and vodka cured salmon is healthy, clean and fresh, best of all, it keeps well in the fridge for up to a week. It is supremely versatile because it can metamorphose into many different things;


It could, for example, be a light lunch served with a salad and some crusty bread; it would add a glorious pop of colour to a mixed seafood platter or buffet; it is wonderful as an elegant starter served with horseradish crème fraiche and a few dressed salad leaves (pink endive and radicchio look particularly pretty) and just a little vodka beetroot cured salmon transforms any breakfast into a luxurious feast (don’t worry, the amount of vodka consumed would be vanishingly small) and it is delicious coupled with either scrambled or poached eggs.


In addition to all of the above, Vodka Beetroot Cured Salmon’s colouring is so pretty it makes particularly alluring canapés. It looks lovely on blinis topped with a little crème fraiche and caviar (or lump fish roe) or on toasted brioche or bruschetta (cut out a small

circle with a pastry cutter after toasting, hard crusts are unwelcome on a toasted canapé).


The salmon slices could be wound round large prawns and held in place with cocktail sticks; it looks wonderful cut into tiny shreds (roll up a slice and finely snip it with scissors) and used as a tartlet topping; spread pieces of the salmon with a little cream cheese, roll up and slice into pretty Catherine wheel shapes; chop it up finely and stir into seasoned crème fraiche or seasoned thick Greek yoghurt for a lovely dip; the possibilities are endless.


Sadly we are approaching a potentially difficult Christmas, so surely it is extra important this year to have treats and really delicious food stashed in the fridge, ready to cheer; cured salmon would, surely, be perfect.

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When planning to prepare Louise Cooks’ recipe for Beetroot and Vodka Cured Salmon, remember to allow plenty of time and keep in mind that quite a lot of liquid will be emitted during the curing process so the salmon should sit in something deep enough to contain it.


Also, remember cling film won’t cling when it’s wet, so the foil part of the salmon wrapping is particularly important.


Louise Cooks’ Beetroot and Vodka Cured Salmon is undoubtedly a winner, but my Special Brandy Cured Salmon is amazing too. The recipe may be made using white wine in place of the brandy; the white wine version is a good and lighter option, but the brandied version is wonderful.


This recipe takes a little longer and the salmon at the end of the brandy cure is not as pretty as the beetroot cured, but the taste is sublime.



Brandy Cured Salmon


1 fillet of salmon with all skin and pin bones removed, very fresh

2 large thumbs of root ginger

Zest of 2 oranges

4-5 tbsps. brandy (or white wine)


4 tbsps. coriander seeds

6 tbsps. flaked Malden sea salt

8 tbsps. soft brown sugar

4 tbsps. chopped fresh dill


• Put the salmon into a snugly fitting large dish or roasting pan

• Grate over the ginger (no need to peel) and the orange zest

• Spoon the alcohol all over the fish, cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.



Next day:-


• Lightly toast the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan for a moment or two until they begin to smell aromatic then blitz in a food processor to bruise and chop it up a bit

• Put the salt and brown sugar into a bowl; add the coriander seeds and half of the dill. Mix together

• Remove the fish from its marinade and wipe off any ginger and orange clinging to it (no need for perfection here)

• Put a large double layer of foil topped with a similarly large piece of cling film on your worktop

• Lie the salmon on top with the side from which the skin has been removed (the bottom side)facing upwards

• Press half the sugar/salt/dill/coriander mixture all over it

• Turn the salmon over and press the remaining mixture all over the top side

• Draw the cling film together tightly to enclose the salmon and seal well; do the same with the foil and seal this tightly too.

• Place the package back into the dish in which the fish was marinated (to catch the liquid which will ooze out during curing) and weight the top; a piece of cardboard with tins on top is perfect.

• The fish should cure in the fridge for 3 days. Turn it over every day for an even cure.

• Unwrap and discard all liquids, etc. Quickly wash the salt, sugar, etc. away from the fish under the cold tap and pat dry with kitchen paper.

• Now press the reserved chopped dill all over the top side of the salmon

• Slice to serve, I rather like this one sliced fairly thickly, but that’s just personal choice.


You will need a very sharp knife to slice the salmon and I slip the fish into the freezer for a good half an hour first because the fish slices so much more easily when it has become slightly firm.

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Cured salmon freezes well; it may be stored in the freezer for up to three months.


Accompaniments:-



For Vodka Beetroot Cured Salmon:-


Horseradish Crème Fraiche: Simply stir some good quality horseradish sauce into full fat crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper


For Brandy Cured Salmon:-


Watercress Crème Fraiche: Chop a generous quantity of watercress, leaves and stalks, stir into crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper.


Homemade Dill and Mustard Sauce


This, the classic accompanying sauce for cured salmon, is quick and easy to make. Incidentally, a little of it smeared into smoked salmon sandwiches transports them into a very superior and different league.


2 tbsps. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. (scant) wine vinegar

1tbsp. caster sugar

6 tbsps. sunflower oil

2 tbsps. chopped fresh dill

Salt and pepper


• Whisk together (or whizz in food processor) the mustard, vinegar and sugar

• Gradually whisk or whizz in the oil, drop by drop (like mayonnaise). The sauce should become thick.

• Stir in the dill and season




Vodka Beetroot Cured Salmon