I’ve used fennel, beetroot and blood oranges to transform this traditional Scandinavian dish into a visual and culinary delight, that tastes as good as it looks.
For the Gravadlax
1-1.2kg fillet of salmon (pin boned, skin on)
6 tablespoons flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1½ tablespoons finely grated horseradish (or purchased grated horsereadish)
4 tablespoons grated beetroot
zest and juice of 1 blood orange (or navel orange)
3 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds (or use dill as an alternative)
3 tablespoons gin
For the starter
250 grams sour cream (or crème fraiche)
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel fronds (or dill)
1 loaf rye bread
3-4 handfuls of misto insalate (a mixture of fine lettuce leaves and herbs)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Salmon: Place the salmon skin side down in a large shallow roasting tray. Combine the salt with the brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over the fish, rubbing it into the flesh. Sprinkle the horseradish, beetroot and orange zest over the salmon flesh so it is completely covered.
Scatter over the fennel fronds then drizzle over the gin and the orange juice and pat all the ingredients gently onto the fish.
Cover the tray with plastic wrap and place another tray over the top then weight it down with a heavy casserole pot, or use 3-4 tin cans. Leave in the fridge for 48 hours to cure.
After 2 days, remove it from the fridge. Unwrap the salmon and wipe off all the curing ingredients. Pat the salmon with paper towels to ensure it is dry.
Place on a chopping board and remove the skin from the salmon by holding the tail end firmly and using a sharp knife to make a cut between the flesh and skin in the opposite direction from the tail end.
Holding the end tightly, continue to cut along the length of the fillet (take care not to cut through the skin). Remove and discard skin.
Starters: In a bowl mix together the sour cream, lemon juice, chives and fennel fronds, season with salt and pepper.
Cut very thin slices of the rye bread and toast them lightly.
On each slice of toasted rye bread place some lettuce and two very thinly sliced pieces of the cured salmon. Top with sour cream and garnish with small fennel fronds and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
Goes very well with chilled Pinot Gris!