For the quick-cured juniper salmon
3 grams coarse salt
35 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 small raw beetroot
150g very fresh salmon fillet, skinned
For the horseradish cream
100ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon horseradish cream
1 small cucumber
1 small pickled beetroot
1 unwaxed lemon
a few sprigs of dill
2 tablespoons salmon roe
a speed peeler
a melon baller
The Swedes might not be known for their extravagant design, opting more for snow-white interiors and simple lines, but when it comes to the humble sandwich, they certainly know how to push the boat out. Smörgåstårta is a sandwich layer cake, filled with pâté, smoked fish, prawns, ham, cream cheese...basically, anything. They can be found in bakeries, supermarkets and even at the petrol station, and are served at parties, weddings, funerals and any other excuse for a social gathering.
I went with the less-is-more approach for my filling, sticking with some key Swedish flavours: pickled beetroot, dill, quick-brined salmon and horseradish.
For the salmon brine, put the water into a pan, along with the salt, sugar and juniper berries. Peel and roughly chop the raw beetroot and add it to the pan. Bring to the boil, simmer to dissolve the sugar and salt, leave to cool until it reaches room temperature, then place in the fridge to chill.
Finely slice the salmon into thin slivers. Drop into the cold brine for 7 minutes, then remove, drain and pat dry with kitchen towel. Discard the brine.
Whisk the whipping cream to firm-ish peaks, then fold in the horseradish cream. Thinly spread each slice of bread with some of the cream and add a layer of salmon, then place the slices of bread on top of each other.
Take a speed peeler and peel thin ribbons from one side of the cucumber. Discard the first ribbon and don’t use the seeded part: you need 4 perfect ribbons to wrap around the cake. With a melon baller, make enough to go around the edge of the bread from the other sides of the cucumber, discarding the middle seeded part.
Spread the rest of the cream around the outside edges and top of the bread (like icing a cake), making sure the cream is nice and smooth with a palette knife. Delicately place the cucumber ribbons around the edges of the sandwich cake.
Use a mandolin to make thin rounds of the pickled beetroot and very fine slices of the lemon. You can now decorate the top of your sandwich cake. I like to put cucumber balls around the top edge of the cake, then twist the remaining pieces of salmon around one finger to make a rose shape. Place these all over the top of the cake, along with slices of the pickled beetroot, the lemon slivers and sprigs of dill. Dot the salmon roe around. Chill until ready to serve.
Reproduced with permission from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook by Rachel Khoo. Published by Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House. RRP $50.00. Copyright text © Rachel Khoo, 2014. Copyright photography © David Loftus, 2014.