This salmon is lightly cured with salt, dill, juniper berries, black pepper and a little gin. It's pretty much a classic gravadlax. Most recipes for cured salmon you'll find will tell you to leave the salmon curing for at least 48 hours – even up to several days – but I have found this to make the end product salty to the point that it is unpalatable. Instead, I leave my salmon in the cure mix for only 36 hours; wash it off then leave it on a kitchen towel on a tray in the fridge for a couple of days to dry out naturally. This final drying step is important, I think, in getting a perfectly cured texture. Assuming that the salmon was fresh before you cured it, it will keep happily in the fridge for one week.
Ideally you should have two smallish roasting trays or containers that nest inside each other, for pressing the salmon as it cures. If you don't have anything suitable, you can wrap clingfilm around it and use two plates instead.
- 500 g salmon, skin on
- 50 g sea salt
- 30 g sugar
- 3 tbsp gin
- 10 juniper berries, crushed
- 1 tbsp black pepper, roughly cracked
- 1 bunch large dill, chopped
- the zest of 1 lemon
Place all the ingredients except the salmon into a bowl and mix thoroughly with a spoon until you have a paste. Alternatively place in a blender and blitz.
Rub the cure mix over all sides of the salmon, including the skin side. Place, skin side down, in one of your 'nesting' containers, and put the other container on top with a weight of approximately 1 kg. If you don't have any suitable containers, wrap in clingfilm and press between two plates.
Leave in the fridge for exactly 36 hours, then remove and wash off most of the cure mix, making sure to leave a little on the top of the salmon. Place on a plate or a tray lined with a jay cloth or tea towel and return to the fridge. After 2 days, your cured salmon is ready. It will keep in the fridge for 7 days.