Don't you just love the colour of that beetroot?
Following on from my previous post where Shellie made the incredible Goats Cheese & Roasted Grapes Tart with Parmesan Crust Pastry at the food photography workshop back in April, she also made this seriously amazing Beetroot & Gin Cured Gravlax.
I kid you not, these two dishes really were one of my highlights from the trip (and trust me, there were many). This gravlax was just delicious to eat and because it's such a big piece of fish, it made for the most amazing leftover to eat. I was snacking on it for breakfast the next morning or even after we got back from dinner because I just couldn't resist. Paired with some lovely toasted bagels spread with cream cheese, sliced red onions, dill and capsicum, it really was perfection in a bite. Plus, I just couldn't get over the sheer vibrance of the beetroot stain on the fish. Just stunning.
I guess that because I grew up in a small town in Borneo, my love for seafood really is undoubtedly inherent in me. So much so that whenever I go out for brunch, I am quite predictable as I almost ALWAYS get the cured fish dish and not even bother reading the rest of the menu. If not, I would at the very least get a side of the cured trout or salmon to go with whatever I'm having.
This is why I was so inspired by what Shellie made for us that day. It wasn't just delicious (even better than a lot of the ones I've had and paid for in cafes), it looked rather simple to do too. Plus, it was a hell of a lot cheaper when you made it yourself because you've got heaps to share. Oh, I made this as well a few months ago to share with my cousins when we all went away to Lake Entrance for a weekend getaway. Again, it made for a great breakfast dish.
A recipe that I would definitely make again!
This was the one we ate at the workshop made by Shellie. Again, too good!! And isn't her styling just gorgeous?
Beetroot & Gin Cured Salmon Gravlax
(adapted from this recipe by Jamie Oliver)
2 large fresh beetroots (peeled and quartered)
1 orange (zested)
2 lemons (zested)
2 juniper berries (bashed)
5 tbsp rock salt
2 tbsp demarara or brown sugar
800g side of salmon (from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger)
1 small bunch fresh dill (finely chopped)
1 small bunch fresh tarragon (leaves picked, finely chopped)
5 tbsp freshly grated horseradish (optional but recommended)
Brown bread or bagels
Red onions (finely sliced)
Yellow capsicum (sliced)
Cream cheese dip of choice
1. For the first cure, blitz the beetroots, orange and lemon zest, bashed juniper berries (if using) in a food processor until you get a fairly smooth paste. Transfer into a bowl and stir in the rock salt and sugar. Pour in the gin and give it a good mix.
2. On a large baking tray, place a layer of aluminium foil at the bottom and another layer of cling wrap on top. Lay the side of salmon skin-side down on the cling wrap and slowly pour over the beetroot cure. Use a spatula to spread it all over the salmon flesh. Once it is well covered, wrap the salmon tightly in the cling wrap. You may need a second layer of cling wrap for this if it is not big enough. Place it in the fridge for 24 hours.
3. The next day, take the salmon out of the fridge and carefully unwrap the cling wrap. Using a spatula, push the cure to the sides. Remove the salmon and discard the cling wrap and the beetroot cure. Hold the salmon over another large tray or dish and slowly rinse off the cure with 100ml water or gin. By now, it should have shared its wonderful flavours with the fish and turned it a really vibrant colour.
4. For the second cure, mix together the chopped herbs, grated horseradish and gin in a bowl. Place another layer of cling wrap on top of the aluminium foil on the baking tray. Put the salmon on the cling wrap, skin side down, and pack the herb cure onto the salmon using your hands. Make sure you cover all the flesh, you don't want any air getting to it. Wrap it again in the cling wrap. Use a second layer of cling wrap if required to tighten it. Pop the salmon back in the fridge for another 24 hours.
5. The next day, your salmon will be perfectly cured and ready to eat. You don't need to rinse off that second cure, simply push most of it to the side to discard (leaving some on top for presentation). Remove the skin with a sharp knife and slice the salmon as finely as you can. To finish, pile the sliced gravlax on a plate and serve together with toasted bagels or brown bread, fresh dill, capsicum, red onions and cream cheese dip (I used spring onion from my local deli). Enjoy!