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Beetroot and Gin Cured Salmon

Beetroot and gin cured salmon has a sweet, salty flavour with a vibrant colour and makes a really lovely dinner party starter

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  • Serves 6

  • Total time 30 mins

    plus marinating
  • Freeze yes
  • Prepare ahead yes

Ingredients

  • 500-600g piece of salmon fillet, skin on
  • 2tbsp juniper berries
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 2tbsp sea salt
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 5tbsp gin
  • 150g raw beetroot, peeled and grated (wear rubber gloves!)
  • 3tbsp grated horseradish

For the pickled cucumber:
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 175ml white wine vinegar
  • 10 peppercorns
  • rind of ½ lemon
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and sliced

Tip

To slice the salmon, you’ll need either a proper smoked salmon knife (worth the investment if you make this a few times a year) or a fish-filleting knife, which has a flexible blade. Make sure the knife is really sharp and cut the salmon into thin slices. Watch our video to see how to slice cured salmon Serve the salmon with the spelt soda bread, cucumber and creme fraiche if you like

Preparation

Beetroot and cured salmon work so well together in this salmon recipe thanks to their sweet and salty opposite flavours which combine fin wonderful harmony for an absolutely delicious outcome. Curing your own salmon isn't as tricky as you might think and it looks so much more impressive than shop bought. Serve this smoked salmon starter up on a sharing board for everyone to help themselves to.

HOW TO MAKE BEETROOT AND GIN CURED SALMON

  1. Remove any pin bones from the salmon with tweezers. Line a baking sheet with clingfilm and place the fish on it, skin side down.

  2. Crush the juniper and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Mix together these spices with the remaining ingredients. Spread the mixture over the salmon and press down. Wrap clingfilm around and over the top of the salmon a few times. Place another baking sheet on top and weigh it down with jars or cans. Leave in the fridge for at least 36 hours and preferably 3 days.

  3. Unwrap the fish and scrape off the marinade. The salmon will freeze very well at this point. It will keep for 5 days in the fridge.

  4. For the pickled cucumber, dissolve the sugar and salt over a gentle heat then add the white wine vinegar, peppercorns and lemon rind. Set aside to cool, then pour over the cucumber, cover and put in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Or for different flavours, mix together the following ingredients and press into the salmon then wrap and proceed as above.

For bourbon and black pepper salmon:
2tbsp black peppercorns
2tbsp sea salt
2tbsp sugar
5tbsp bourbon or whisky
5tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

For sake and sesame salmon:
2tbsp coriander seeds
2tbsp sea salt
2tbsp sugar
5tbsp sake
2tbsp wasabi paste
5tbsp toasted sesame seeds