Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Gravlax with gin and juniper & homemade dill mayonnaise

This was my first go at making gravlax and mayonnaise, and surprisingly they both worked!  The recipe for the salmon is from Roast Figs Sugar Snow by Diana Henry. I served the salmon with some pickled cucumbers on toasted rye bread.

Serves at least 10

for the cured salmon:
1.5 kg (3lb 5oz) piece of salmon (preferably organic) in 2 halves, 
filleted but skin left on
1 tbsp chopped fennel fronds 
8 tbsp gin 
50g sea salt flakes
75g caster sugar
2tbsp freshly ground black pepper
15g chopped fresh dill
3/4 tbsp crushed juniper berries

Run your hand over the salmon flesh to make sure there are no little bones in it.  It there are, remove them with tweezers.

Spread out a piece of foil big enough to wrap round the salmon.  Rub gin all over the 2 pieces of salmon and set 1 piece of it on the foil skin-side-down.  Pour a little more gin over the fleshy side of the salmon, then mix the salt, sugar pepper, fennel, dill and juniper and press this on top of the salmon.  Sprinkle with a little gin.  Put the other piece of salmon on top, skin-side-up.  Sprinkle a little more gin on top.

Fold the foil round the salmon to make a package.  Set it on a wire rack and put this on a platter or roasting tin that can catch the liquid as it leaches out of the salmon.  Place a weight such as a chopping board on top and put in the fridge.  Turn the salmon package from time to time while it is curing.  You ca leave it from anything to 1 - 6 days.

Unwrap the package and scrape the sugar and salt of the salmon.  Using a very sharp knife, cut the salmon flesh horizontally into thin slices, leaving the skin behind.  

Dill mayonnaise
2 medium egg yolks
2 tsp of english mustard 
300ml olive oil
handful of chopped dill
juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper

Put the egg yolks, mustard and salt and pepper into a large bowl and whisk.
Add the olive oil in steady streams every now and again, until incorporated.
Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the chopped dill and mix (this will loosen the mayonnaise).

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