Beetroot and Vodka Cured Salmon
I like to serve this pretty Beetroot and Vodka Cured Salmon with my Potted Prawns, partly because obligingly they compliment each other and partly because they just look so good together; the perfect couple. I confess I am just a bit more comfortable with curing fish when there is alcohol involved. It's true, I eat it whenever and wherever I come across it, but when I'm the one responsible for the cure, then the extra security of having alcohol in the equation is slightly reassuring. Beetroot and Vodka Cured Salmon is very healthy, so you can tuck into it with a clear conscience and another large thing in its favour is the fact that it has to be prepared in advance, so this will therefore be sitting conveniently in your fridge ready to be consumed, giving you a bit of extra time when you are flying around with other last minute preparations.
500 g Boneless fillet of salmon, skin removed
1 medium raw beetroot, peeled and grated (gloves!)
3 level tbsps. sugar
3 level tbsps. flaky sea salt
3 tbsps. vodka
You will need a lipped tray or roasting pan which is large enough to hold the salmon snugly. Lie a large piece of foil on top of it. The foil should be large enough to completely wrap up and enclose the salmon with ease.
On top of the foil lie two pieces of cling film one on top of the other, again large enough to completely enclose the salmon.
Mix together the sugar, salt and vodka in a bowl and stir in the grated beetroot
Now spread about half of the beetroot, salt etc. mixture onto the cling film in a shape similar to your piece of salmon. You want the beetroot mix to cover all of the underside of the salmon
Sit the salmon on top. Run your fingers over the fillet just to make sure there are no remaining bones (use tweezers to remove them if necessary). Now cover the salmon with all the rest of the beetroot mixture; so the salmon should now be covered completely, top and bottom, with the beetroot curing mixture.
Draw the cling film up around the salmon and seal it completely, then draw the foil up around all of it to make a tight parcel and scrunch to seal.
Pop the salmon still sitting inside the tray (it will ooze liquid as it cures) into the fridge. Put something heavy on top (tins of beans?) to weigh it down.
After 24 hours the salmon will be beginning to be stained pink around the edges. After 48 hours it should be getting nicely pink (my photograph is after 48 hours curing).
After 48 hours remove the salmon from all the juices and rinse it under the cold tap to wash off all the salt, etc. Pat dry with kitchen roll. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The usual advice is to slice this thinly holding the knife at an angle to create slices similar to D shaped smoked salmon slices. The easiest way of doing this is to put the salmon into the freezer for 30 minutes or so, this will firm it up making thin slices easier to achieve. However, for a change, try serving cut more thickly and straight down rather than diagonally. The chunky slices are less refined somehow, but very satisfying.
Beetroot cured salmon is very good served with Horseradish Créme Fraiche: simply full fat créme fraiche with a little good quality horseradish sauce stirred into it and seasoned. You can also do the same thing with full fat Greek yoghurt. Reduced fat will give a watery result. Try stirring in chopped parsley, chives, dill or a little grain mustard.
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