Following an indulgent Christmas period of eating and drinking, our family always starts the first day of January with a late afternoon lunch of seafood and a selection of salads. New Years Eve hangovers are soon forgotten as we pull together to cook up our family favourites and line the dining room table with a colourful and healthy buffet selection of Mediterranean Potato Salad,Green Bean Salad,Summer Rice Salad and Beetroot, Pea, Mint Salad.
Seafood is kept to a minimum with a no cooking philosophy and is usually a cold platter selection of prawns and smoked salmon or trout.
This year however, I decided to experiment and make my own cured salmon. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but always thought it would be difficult to master when in truth it’s extremely easy albeit time consuming. The result is a rich, flavoursome and decadently preserved salmon. I combined my favourite vodka tipple with vanilla to give added flavour to the curing mixture. In future, I will be serving my own cured salmon to family and friends instead of store bought smoked salmon.
Ingredients 300g salmon fillets
1/4 rock salt
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 vanilla pod
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon dill
Drizzle of olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
The key ingredients are Salmon Fillets, Brown Sugar, Rock Salt, Vodka and Vanilla.
Halve the vanilla pod, scoop the seeds and spread over the salmon pieces.
Scoop the seeds from the Vanilla Pod and spread over the Salmon Fillets.
Place the salmon into a deep dish and cover with the vodka. Refrigerate and let marinade for a couple of hours. The vodka marinade should be discarded.
Cover the Salmon with Vodka and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile while the salmon is marinating, coarsely grind the salt, sugar and vanilla pod in a food processor.
Coarsely grind the Rock Salt, Brown Sugar and Vanilla Pod.
Using your hands, rub the salt mixture into the flesh of the salmon.
Rub the Salt mixture into the flesh of the Salmon, ensure you coat the back and sides as well.
Put the salmon back into the deep dish and cover with cling wrap and leave overnight in the refrigerator. During this curing time, the salt will draw moisture out leaving the fillets slightly hardened and dehydrated, even though the fillets will be sitting in the liquid that has been drawn out.
After 24-hours, the Salmon will be dehydrated and slightly hard to the touch. Moisture from the Salmon will seep out.
After 24-hours, remove the salmon from the salty wet mixture. Wash under cold running water then pat dry.
Washed and dried Salmon Fillets.
Using a sharp knife, slice the salmon thinly on an angle and arrange on a serving plate.
Thinly slice the fillets on an angle.
Thinly sliced Cured Salmon.
Scatter capers over the salmon slices.
Chop the dill finely and scatter over the salmon.
Garnish the salmon slices with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper.