- 3 (about 300 g) small beetroot, peeled, grated
- 75 g (⅓ cup firmly packed) demerara sugar
- 250 g coarse salt
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) vodka
- 2 lemons, zested, plus extra wedges, to serve
- 3 juniper berries(see Note), crushed
- 1½ bunches dill, leaves and stems finely chopped, plus extra, chopped, to serve
- 1 (about 1 kg) side of salmon, skin on, with tail end removed, pin-boned
- capers, sliced rye and pumpernickel bread and store-bought dill mayonnaise, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to start this recipe 2–4 days ahead to cure the salmon.
To make curing mixture, place beetroot, sugar, salt, vodka, lemon zest, juniper berries and dill in a bowl and toss until combined.
Place salmon, skin-side down, in a large glass baking dish. Wearing disposable gloves, massage marinade into skin, then cover with plastic wrap, top with a tray and place a heavy weight on top to compress fish. Refrigerate for 2 days, draining off excess liquid each day and massaging curing mixture into skin again. You can cure salmon for up to 4 days for a firmer result and deeper colour.
Drain off the liquid and wipe salmon with paper towel to remove excess curing mixture.
Using a sharp knife, thinly slice gravadlax on an angle, cutting away skin as you go. Scatter with extra dill and capers, and serve with lemon wedges, bread and dill mayonnaise.
Store leftover gravadlax, unsliced, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks; slice off what you need, then rewrap.
• Juniper berries, from selected supermarkets and delis, have a piquant flavour.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 16, pg51.
Photography by Derek Swalwell