Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Christmas Breakfast - Salmon cured two ways: Beetroot and Fennel & Juniper

There's something obligatory about having Smoked Salmon for breakfast on Christmas morning with scrambled eggs and a glass of Bucks Fizz (sounds very suburban - and it really is, in fact it is teetering on naff...). But I do love it anyways, although I must admit that with a colossal lunch ahead all I really fancy is a soft boiled egg and some granary toast, especially if you have a few hours of cooking and slugging Champagne ahead of you. This year I had bigger plans and set to curing my very own salmon in two ways, not only to impart some extra flavour, but in the case of the beetroot I wanted the salmon to be stained with the deep crimson of this lovely root. This incidentally works rather well on Smoked Salmon - which helps cut through the fattiness of the usual packs sold in most supermarkets.
For the first piece I salted the fish liberally, then finely sliced a bulb of fennel (I used a mandolin) with which I covered the fish with. To this I added a marinade of
100ml of Gin, a pinch of caster sugar, the zest and juice of a lime and some crushed juniper berries. Pour over the salmon, cover with cling film and leave for an hour. The beetroot version is more simple but visually very pretty when served. For this I just boiled a smallish beetroot for 20 minutes or so, which I peeled and sliced into thin slices, again layering over the salted fish. I left this for a bit longer as there wasn't as much acid present to 'cure' the fish. Both pieces were then cleaned of their marinades and sliced finely ready for breakfast.

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