Juniper gravadlax with wheat beer blinis

Allegra McEvedy shows how easy it is to cure fresh salmon and turn the result into stunning canapés
By Allegra McEvedy
Juniper gravadlax with wheat beer blinis
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes plus curing and proving time
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the gravadlax

  • 130 g rock salt
  • 170 g golden granulated sugar
  • 15 g dill, stalks and leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1½ tbsp juniper berries
  • 500 g salmon tail piece

For the blinis

  • 75 g buckwheat flour
  • 65 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp easy-blend yeast
  • ½ tbsp sugar
  • 175 ml wheat beer, such as Grolsch Weizen
  • 25 g butter, melted, plus extra for frying

To serve

  • 100 g jar salmon eggs
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, roughly chopped
  • 150 g creme fraiche
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • finely chopped chives, plus a few whole chives to decorate

Method

1. For the gravadlax: put the salt, sugar, dill and juniper in a food processor and spin for a couple of minutes.

2. Make three very shallow cuts almost the width of the fillet and about 2-3cm apart through the skin of the thick end of the salmon. (This allows it to absorb the cure quicker.)

3. Pull out a large square of cling film. Scatter half of the salt-sugar mix on it over an area the size of the salmon, then lay the fish on it, skin-side down. Pack the rest of the salt-sugar mix on the flesh side, then wrap the lot very tightly in cling film twice.

4. Put the salmon parcel in a container in the fridge (some water may be drawn out of it as it cures). Put some weights on top, such as a few heavy tins, and leave for a day. Turn it over (replacing the weights) and after another 12 hours it will be ready.

5. Unwrap the fish and brush off the remaining cure. Run the salmon very briefly under cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper.

6. Slice as thinly as you can, using a long, sharp knife and working with the blade pointing toward the tail end at an angle of about 20 degrees. The exposed flesh on the top layer has the most intense flavour, so share it among the plates.

7. For the blinis: sift both flours into a mixing bowl and stir in the yeast and sugar. Whisk in the beer, and once thats smooth, follow it with the melted butter. Season well with salt, then cover with a tea towel and leave somewhere warmish for an hour or two.

8. Take two thick-bottomed pans or cast-iron skillets and melt a knob of butter in each. Swirl it around until white and frothing do not let it brown then pour in about 1 tablespoon batter per blini. Theyll spread a bit, but not too much as long as your pan is hot enough.

9. Once you see the edges of the blinis firming up and little bubbles appearing on the surface (this will take about 1 minute), gently flip them over and cook for a further minute. Keep in a warm oven until youve the amount you need to plate up: reckon about 3 per person.

10. To serve, mix the chives and chopped egg with the crème fraîche and some seasoning. Plate up the blinis and salmon, then finish with a blob of the crème fraîche and a teaspoon of salmon eggs in the middle. The lemon wedges and long chives are the last touches.

Recipe from Bitter Sweet Partnership

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