Every year at Christmas time I like to go shopping for a lovely big piece of salmon. More than any other time of year, salmon is widely available in the German stores, so it’s the perfect time to buy this fairly luxurious fish. I’m not a huge fan of cooked salmon, so rather than roasting it, I head in a Scandinavian direction and cure mine in a salt and sugar brine, full of fresh herbs and fragrant spices. This year I’ve gone with a bright and beautiful Cranberry Orange Cured Salmon, as lovely to look at as it is to eat.
If you’ve never tried curing your own salmon before, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. Mix up your ingredients, spread them over the fish, then wrap it up and put it in the fridge. All that’s left to do is to turn it every 12 hours or so for 36-48 hours, then slice and enjoy.
There is a lot of discussion about what type of salmon to use for making your own cured salmon. If you have a reputable fishmonger they are your first port of call, though any good quality fish will do. According to the Swedish Government (who should know a thing or two about this kind of recipe), if you are at all concerned about the safety of your fish, you can freeze it for a few days, before defrosting it at proceeding with the recipe.
Cranberry Orange Cured Salmon is a fantastic starter for a Christmas lunch or dinner. I like to serve mine with a very simple mixture of yoghurt and horseradish, some rye or grain bread and a green salad. In the unlikely event that I have any leftovers, I always make sushi!
Have you tried curing your own salmon before? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below!
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
- 750g salmon fillet, skin on
- 250g cranberries
- 100ml gin
- 50ml cranberry juice
- 25 g bunch of dill
- 125g sugar
- 125g rock salt (non-iodised)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tsp juniper berries
- zest of 1 unwaxed orange
- 100ml Greek-style yoghurt
- 2 Tbsp horseradish
- rye or grain bread
- Line a deep-sided dish with a double layer of cling film, leaving plenty overhanging the sides, and place the salmon on top. Check the salmon for any bones and remove them with tweezers if necessary.
- Combine the cranberries, juice, gin, dill, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a coarse paste. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.
- Using a mortar and pestle, spice grinder or a large knife, roughly crush the fennel, caraway, peppercorns and juniper berries, then add to the cranberry mixture with the orange zest. By this stage, your kitchen will be full of the most incredibly fragrant aroma and you’ll be feeling positively Scandinavian.
- Make a few slices into the skin slide of the salmon to help the brine reach the underside, then spread the mixture evenly over the salmon, tucking some underneath so that it is fully covered.
- Wrap firmly with the overhanging cling film, place a plate or small chopping board (preferably something that won’t stain if in contact with the pink juice) on top of the parcel, then weigh it down with something heavy. People often recommend a couple of tins, but I prefer not to have tins in the refrigerator so I use a couple of jars of olives or similar.
- Place the salmon in the refrigerator, and allow to cure for 24-36 hours, turning every 12 hours. For me, the salmon is perfect after 36 hours, but if you are using a very thin piece or prefer a lighter cure then 24 hours will be fine.
- When the fish has cured, remove from the refrigerator, scrape off the cure and discard it. You may like to rinse and dry the fish here but I prefer to leave it as is. The salmon will now be a vibrant pink and can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days until you are ready to serve.
- Before serving, I like to put the salmon in the freezer for 30 minutes as this makes the flesh easy to slice finely.
- Stir together the yoghurt and horseradish, then serve with the salmon and thinly sliced grain bread. It’s also nice to squeeze over a little fresh orange juice directly before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 446Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 8244mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 3gSugar: 27gProtein: 30g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I Can’t Get Fresh Cranberries – can i use frozen?
How long will my cranberry orange cured salmon keep?
At least 2-3 days in the fridge after it has been removed from the brine.
I can’t get cranberries – can I use any thing else to make this dish?
Yes, it is wonderful with beetroot too – see my recipe here.