Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Orange cured salmon and herby maple salad

Like a seared beef carpaccio, cured salmon is one of those god-send dishes where the tastiness belies the absolute doddle it is to make. The most difficult part is finding decent raw ingredients, after which only a total pleb can muck it up. Probably.

For the first in what we're hoping will be a series of Shex Eats Food and Likes It supper club meals, Lex Eat and I prepared an early 'Christmas' meal for a group of lovely girlies, one of whom is moving far, far away so won't be here for the real deal. This was the starter; soft, orangy salmon, fragrant herbs - go heavy - a sweet maple dressing and crispy potato cakes. Even if we say it ourselves, it's a winner.

For the salmon
Bestest, freshest fillet of fresh Scottish salmon you can find
3 tbsp sea salt flakes
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 juicy oranges, cut into rounds

Slice the salmon in half down the length and cover with the salt and sugar. Lay the oranges on one half, then sandwich together, skin outer facing. Wrap tightly with cling film, place on a flat surface in your fridge, then weigh down with a chopping board and/or a big book. You want pressure applied along the length of the fish, but not so much that you actually squash it. Leave in the fridge for three days, flipping the fish over every 16 hours or so.

You can play around with the texture; the higher your salt to sugar ratio, the firmer the finished salmon will be.


For the complete dish, make;
- skinny, crispy rosti. Grate potato, salt, squeeze the moisture out, add grated onion, more salt, pepper, squish into large flat discs, fry over low heat until soft in the middle and crisp on the outside, which will take around 20 minutes. Keep warm in a low oven.
- a salad with lots of basil, parsley, and mint, with a little baby gem lettuce.
- orange segments, two or three per person
- Maple dressing (adapted by Lex from the Ottolenghi book)
60ml olive oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Big squeeze orange juice
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Assemble with the potato cakes on the bottom - they want to be warm, not hot - then sashimi style strips of salmon, topped with dressed herby salad and segments of orange. We served pots of La Fromagerie creme fraiche on the side which was nice, but not essential.

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