Beetroot gravlax salmon

By Grant Allen

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Salmon marinated with dill and beetroot makes an excellent entrée, especially with a shot of vodka. Photo / Janna Dixon
Salmon marinated with dill and beetroot makes an excellent entrée, especially with a shot of vodka. Photo / Janna Dixon

Scandinavians also have a particular way of eating salmon. Gravlax is fresh salmon that has been marinated for two days, thinly sliced and served as an appetiser, as part of a smorgasbord or sometimes as a main course. I think it makes a very special starter, especially if you serve it with a shot of iced vodka. Traditionally you would not use beetroot in the process but by doing so the salmon takes an extraordinarily rich colour and makes for a dramatic presentation.

This is a simple process but it does take time.

1 Take 2 pieces of fresh salmon, skin on, bone out - ask your supplier to take the pin bones out for you.

2 Place one side skin-side down in a deep glass or stainless steel baking dish. Place a good amount of dill on to the salmon (as dill is hard to find at this time of the year I used fennel tops). Mix equal amounts of castor sugar and plain salt and some ground pepper. Sprinkle this mixture over the herb.

3 Grate a peeled raw beetroot and layer this on to the herbs.

4 Top with the other piece of salmon, skin side up. Cover with tinfoil and place a plate on it that will sit on top of the salmon but inside your dish. Put some weights on the plate (unopened tinned food is good). Refrigerate for two days, turning the fish every 12 hours and basting the marinade over the salmon. Replace the foil, plate and weights each time you turn the salmon.

5 To serve, remove all the beetroot and herbs and pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Slice as thinly as possible (you will need a sharp knife) detaching the slices from the skin.

Arrange on your serving plates - 3 or 4 slices for an entrée. Serve with some lemon and some grainy toast fingers.

Make sure you have a pepper grinder on the table, and don't forget the vodka!

- Herald on Sunday

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