Beetroot & gin-cured salmon gravlax with pickled fennel & watercress salad

Get into the Scandi spirit with this delicious starter

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Recipe by: Jody Spencer


For the salmon

  • 300g salmon side fillet
  • 2 tbsp gin
  • 100g raw beetroot, grated
  • Small bunch of dill, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1 small orange, juice of ½
  • 30g brown sugar
  • 30g sea salt

For the pickled fennel

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 200ml apple cider vinegar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 5 juniper berries
  • Few sprigs of dill

To serve

  • Watercress
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lemon


  1. Start by making the gravlax, as it takes a couple of days or so to cure. Put the salmon into a small dish that’s deep enough for it to be submerged in the cure. Mix all the ingredients together, except the gin and orange juice, and pat down all over the side of salmon. Pour over the gin and juice. Cover loosely with cling film and foil. Put a heavy weight on top, such as some cans of beans or jars of jam, and leave in the fridge for at least two days.
  2. You can make the pickled fennel on the same day you cure the salmon. Put all the ingredients except the fennel and sprigs of dill into a saucepan. Gently dissolve the sugar over a low heat then bring up to the boil and boil for three minutes. Remove from the heat. Trim the bulb of fennel, remove the tough core and thinly slice. Place the fennel into a sterilised jar with the dill sprigs and pour the liquid over the top. Store and use when required. Once opened, refrigerate and use within two months.
  3. Once the salmon has cure for a couple of days, remove from the fridge. Scrape off all the cure mixture and pat dry underneath the salmon with some kitchen paper. Thinly slice the salmon away from the skin underneath.
  4. Mix some watercress with the pickled fennel and dress with a little olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice and some lemon zest. Serve with the gravlax and some rye bread.

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