With everything they’ll need to cure their own salmon Scandi-style, this homemade Christmas kit will make an inspired gift for any keen cook
- 1 orange
- 1 dill plant
- small pot of black peppercorns
- 125g box of sea salt
- 500g bag of demerara sugar
- small pot of coriander seeds
- small pot of caraway seeds
- a fishmonger gift voucher (to buy a 500g boneless piece of salmon)
- pestle and mortar (optional)
MethodUsing a pestle and mortar, grind 1 /2 tbsp peppercorns, then stir in 50g sea salt, 75g sugar, 1 tsp each coriander seeds and caraway seeds, and the zest.
- 140g unsalted butter
- 100g dark muscovado sugar
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 3 balls stem ginger, finely chopped
- airtight box, bag or jar
- gift box, ribbon and label
- 2 espresso cups (optional)
- pack or tin of ground coffee
- Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3-4. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan, stirring until the sugar melts. Take off the heat. Sieve the flour, bicarb and ground ginger into a bowl, pour in the wet ingredients and add the stem ginger. Stir to make a stiff dough.
- Roll the warm dough out on a surface dusted with flour until about ½cm thick. Stamp out biscuits using a cutter, lift onto the baking trays and cook for 10 mins or until golden. Cool completely, then lift off parchment. These will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
- Pack the biscuits in an airtight box, bag or jar, then put in a gift box with the cups and coffee and tie with a ribbon.
- 1 filleted side of very fresh salmon - weighing about 900g
- very large bunch dill (about 80g)
- 100g mixed baby salad leaves and extra virgin olive oil, to serve
- 250g Maldon sea salt
- 375g demerara sugar
- 4 star anise
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- zest 3 oranges
- zest 1 lime
- zest 1 lemon
- 100ml double cream
- 100ml crème fraîche
- 50g freshly grated horseradish or 85g creamed horseradish
- juice ½ lemon
- Tip all the ingredients for the salt mix into a food processor and whizz until everything is combined and the spices are completely ground.
- Stroke your hand along the salmon fillet to check for any stray bones. If you find any, pull them out with a pair of tweezers or small pliers.
- To skin the salmon fillet, lay the fish skin-side down with the tail end closest to you. Insert your knife at an angle at the tail end and cut through the flesh to the skin. Turn the blade so it’s almost flat against the skin, then take hold of the skin with the other hand. Pull and wiggle the skin towards you so as to cut the fillet away. Halfway through removing the skin, hold the knife firmly and flip the fillet over. Gently lift the fillet away from the skin and discard the skin. Trim away the thinner part, plus any fat around the edges, so that the fillet has an even shape.
- Scatter about a third of the salt mix onto a large tray in a line about the size of the salmon fillet. Lay the salmon, skinned-side down, over the salt and pack the rest of the salt on top. Cover with cling film, put another tray on top and weigh it down with a few cans or an empty casserole dish. Leave in the fridge overnight or for at least 10 hrs.
- Under cold running water, wash the salt mix off the salmon fillet, then dry with kitchen paper. Finely chop the dill. Lay the salmon on a board and cover with the dill, pressing it down to pack it onto the salmon.
- If serving as a plated starter, use a sharp carving knife to cut the salmon straight down into fine slices, allowing 6 slices for each plate.
- To make the horseradish cream, whisk together the cream and crème fraîche. Add the horseradish, lemon juice and seasoning, then continue to whisk until thick. Dress the salad leaves in a little olive oil. You are now ready to plate up.
- Arrange a neat pile of baby salad leaves in the centre of each plate. Curl slices of the salmon into bow shapes around the leaves. Continue all the way around the plate in a petal fashion. Use 2 teaspoons to make small quenelles of horseradish cream and spoon each into each bowl.
- 800g potatoes, an all-rounder such as Maris Piper is ideal
- 200g gravadlax
- 2 onions
- 284ml carton double cream
- 150g milk
- Peel potatoes and cut into very thin chips. A mandolin makes this easy; otherwise thinly slice, stack them and cut through the stack into sticks. Put the chips in a bowl and cover with cold salted water.
- Cut the gravadlax into wide strips. Finely chop the onions. Melt a large knob of butter in a small pan, add the onion and fry for 5 mins. Butter the inside of a shallow ovenproof dish, about 1.2 litre capacity. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
- Drain potatoes and spread one third over the dish. Season well. Scatter half the gravadlax and onion on top, then cover with another third of the potatoes. Scatter over remaining gravadlax and onion. Cover with remaining potatoes and season well. Warm cream and milk in a small pan until it simmers, then pour over the potatoes. Dot the top with butter and bake for 1 hr until potatoes are tender and the top golden. Cool for 5 mins before serving with a green vegetable such as broccoli or snap peas.