beetroot salmon gravadlax

beetroot cured salmon gravadlax

I kick off 2016 with my recipe for beetroot and dill salmon gravadlax – because it’s a winner, light and healthy, but firstly a very big resounding happy new year to you all. I hope your holiday was amazing. Mine was short with definite sweet spots but on the whole far too busy (and hot) for my liking. We are going through an excruciating heatwave in Cape Town at the moment and I cannot remember a December this brutal. I’m not a fan of crowds so have tried to avoid the busy zones. There have also been loads of out-of-town visitors plus the general mayhem of parties to add to the mix, so my poor liver needs a break. I did manage a short trip to my aunt and uncles farm in Tulbagh over Christmas which was really relaxing, but have made a mental note to get away from it all next Christmas. I think it’s the only way you can truly relax.

beetroot cured salmon gravadlax

Anyway its back to reality and I start my next big TV shoot tomorrow for a week. Then I’m off on an exciting trip to Israel to explore the food of the region. I simply cannot wait for at least some of my Ottolenghi food dreams to come true.

beetroot salmon gravadlax

This was one of the recipes I developed for Breville last year for their Christmas catalogue and didn’t get around to sharing it on Drizzle & Dip. It would have been ideal around Christmas but Its lovely anytime through summer. It’s a little special, so I think reserved for entertaining purposes. I made a light and fluffy chickpea blini to serve this on (you can find the recipe for those at the bottom too).

beetroot cured salmon gravadlax

I have left the fish to cure for 2 or 3 days in the past and think it can go even longer. I have halved the recipe using only one fillet of fish and half the cure ingredients and it worked out well. I have also made it with both salmon and trout, so whatever is easisest for you.

beetroot salmon gravadlax

Other than serving this as a canape on the chickpea blini – where you add creme fraiche and a sprig of dill for garnish, it makes a wicked breakfast treat. Top a slice of whole grain or multi grain toast with slices of the gravadlax and then top that with a soft poached eggs. A spinkle of sea salt, a grind of black pepper, and a few fresh rocket leaves to finish it off. Its also delicious on buttered brown bread with salad leaves.

Recipe Beetroot salmon gravadlax

  • 2 x aprox 500g salmon or trout fillets (pin boned and skin on) – total 1 kg
  • 80g good quality sea salt flakes
  • 100g muscavado sugar
  • 20g dill
  • zest of an orange
  • zest of a lemon
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 3 medium beetroot, grated
  • lemon or lime wedges to serve

To make the gravadlax (in advance):

Chop the dill (fairly finely) and bash the juniper berries in a pestle and mortar with a little of the salt. Combine this with all the other cure ingredients (except the beetroot).

You can grate the beetroot, but I prefer to use my Breville food processor which takes less than a minute to do.

Spread a double layer of cling film over a tray with sides or oven dish big enough to hold the length of the salmon / trout. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the salt and sugar cure over the bottom. Add a small handful of the grated beetroot and then place one of the salmon fillets skin side down on top. Spread most of the remaining cure over the surface of the salmon fillet. Top with most of the remaining beetroot. Sprinkle the remaining salt cure over the beetroot and then place the second salmon fillet, skin side up on top. The two inside surfaces of the salmon will now be facing each other. If there is any remaining beetroot sprinkle it over the top skin.

Tightly wrap the cling film around the two pieces of fish and continue to wrap it with 3 – 4 more layers. Place a heavy weight on the fish and store in the fridge for 2 – 3 days turning the fish each day and placing the weigh on the other side.

When you are ready to eat. Remove the fish and rinse the cure off under the tap. Dry and slice as thinly as possible.

chickpea blini recipe:

  • 230g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ cup lightly ground chickpeas (about ½ tin)
  • 2 eggs
  • 330ml milk
  • butter to fry

Grind the drained chickpeas in a food processor until they resemble coarse clumps (this must not be smooth).

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl.

Lightly beat the eggs and milk together and add this to the dry ingredients. Whisk lightly until you have a pancake batter consistency. Add the chickpeas and stir to combine.

Heat a non stick frying pan, add a littel butter and when its bubbling, drop a tablespoons full of the batter and allow it to spread a little. As bubbles start forming on the surface, flip them and cook until they are both light golden on both sides.

Seve with a dollop of crème fraiche, a sliver of gravadlax, a spritz of lemon and top with fresh dill.

beetroot cured salmon gravadlax



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  1. This gravadlax is such a stunning colour. Unlike you we are not really enjoying an exceptionally wet and windy a Winter here in the UK. This dish looks like Summer, beautiful corals and reds, eaten in the garden with the sun shining. I hope Cape Town cools down for you. Sammie.

  2. Happy 2016 Sam. I hope it will be a good one for you. This salmon looks divine, and just what we need to have in this crazy heat we are experiencing here on the East Coast of Natal. I believe CT is brutal as you said, shame.
    Enjoy your trip in Israel 🙂

  3. This is beautiful! Definitely something I’d like to make one day 🙂

  4. This is simply stunning, and so easy too!

  5. Natasha @ Salt and Lavender says:

    This is so beautiful! I’ve been playing with beets lately too, but nothing quite as adventurous as this. I can’t really imagine being in the middle of a heat wave around Christmas. I believe it was -25C on Christmas Day here in my city in Canada! I’d take the heat anytime now that I live in a home with air conditioning 🙂 I look forward to all your recipes in 2016. I don’t think I’ve commented before today, but I’ve been an avid reader of this blog for a couple of years now.

  6. Hi Natasha and thanks so much for your lovely comment I wish I could beam myself over to Canada its unbearable here :-(. Thank you for reading my blog over the years – that has made my day. S x

  7. Thanks Rachel and yes its so easy.

  8. Thanks Lynne and a very happy NY to you. Thanks for always visiting and commenting on my blog, I love knowing you were here. I can only imagine how hot KZN is now. I hope you have AC.

    Sam x

  9. Thanks Sammie – its perfect for summer and goes along way. As the fish is quite rich yo uonly need a little. Spruced up with fresh leaves and other salad bits its delicious. Wish I could beam myself over to the UK now and bound around in the cold.

  10. So gorgeous, I love the red tint the beetroot gives to the fish! How long do you think it would last? Hope you have a good weekend! 🙂

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