Gravlax with Horseradish Cream and Pickled Cucumber

Salmon is a great Christmas food. All you have to do is take a fillet of salmon, cover it with a combination of sugar, salt and dill and cure it for a couple of days. What you will end up with is “gravlax”, a Nordic dish which makes a wonderful appetiser or light lunch.

Combine this with pickled cucumber, and fresh horseradish cream and you have a starter which is light, fresh and so flavourful. In fact, perfect for Christmas day and beyond!

When you slice the gravlax you have this wonderful ruby red layer of colour which melts into the deep orange colour of the salmon. It looks amazing on the plate.

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To prepare the Gravlax with Horseradish Cream and Pickled Cucumber

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For the salmon

In a bowl, mix the dill with the salt, sugar and crushed peppercorns.  Put one unskinned salmon fillet skin-side down on to a large sheet of cling film.  Thickly cover the cut face of the salmon with the mixture.  You can cover this with another salmon fillet if you like, skin-side up.

Tightly wrap the fish in 2 or 3 layers of cling film and lift it on to a large shallow tray.  Place a chopping board on top of the fish and weigh it down.  Refrigerate it for 2 days, turning it every 12 hours so that the briny mixture which has developed inside the parcel, bastes the outside of the fish.  Replace the board and weights each time.

Note: thin fillets of salmon generally take 2 days (if left longer, they can become too salty). Thicker fillets can often be left for 3 days.

To serve

Unwrap the salmon and place it on a board. Slice on a 45 degree angle with a very sharp knife into very thin slices.

Carefully lift off the slices as you cut them.  Arrange on a plate and serve with pickled cucumber or pickled beetroot and a spoonful of horseradish cream.

Guinness bread makes a wonderful accompaniment.


Serves 6

2 x 750g unskinned salmon fillets

1 large bunch dill, roughly chopped

100g coarse sea salt

75g white sugar

2 tablespoons crushed white peppercorns

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