How to make our delicious beetroot gravadlax

Beetroot gravadlax, dill creme fraiche, caperberries (serves four)

Salmon slice.png

You’ll need to plan-ahead several days to make the gravadlax but it is worth it for a rich, buttery and deeply flavoured treat. The quantities listed will leave quite a bit of gravadlax left over but you get a better result curing a bigger bit of fish. The remaining gravadlax is delicious with brown bread and butter or with scrambled eggs and toast as a weekend breakfast.

Ask your fishmonger to give you a piece of salmon from the head end rather than the tail, cutting from a large fish to ensure you have a nice thick even fillet. Make sure that you peel the beetroot for the cure thoroughly, as geosmin (the compound that gives beetroot its earthy flavour) is concentrated near the skin and this can overpower the salmon making it taste muddy.

Ingredients

600g thick Salmon fillet, skin on, in 1 piece

For the Salmon cure:
250g course sea salt
250g granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
250g of peeled and finely diced beetroot

For the salmon topping:
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

For the dill crème fraiche:
200g full fat crème fraiche
1 bunch dill, finely chopped

To garnish:
12 caperberries
A few sprigs of dill
A few grinds of the black pepper mill
4 lemon wedges

To make the cure, blitz all the ingredients in a food processor scraping down the sides of the bowl. You should have a course paste. Lay out a double thickness of strong, good quality cling film and smooth half of the paste over it in the rough shape of your salmon fillet. Lay the salmon fillet on top, skin side down, and carefully spoon the remainder of the cure over. Parcel up the cling film and place in a Tupperware box in the fridge for 36 hours.

Salmon whole.png

After 36 hours unwrap the cling film, take out the salmon and place on a board and empty the cure into the Tupperware, it should be more liquid, due to moisture coming out of the salmon. Place the salmon back into the cure, skin side up, submerging the cut side in the cure. Leave for another 12 hours.

Wash of the salmon in running water until it is fully clean of cure, the outside should be bright pink. Lay out another double thickness of strong, good quality cling film. Blot the salmon dry with kitchen paper and place on the cling film. Top with an even covering of chopped dill and lemon zest and parcel up and return to a clean Tupperware. At this point the salmon should mature for at least 2 days and can be kept for 2 weeks if wrapped well and kept in the fridge.

To make the dill crème fraiche, mix the chopped dill into the full fat crème fraiche. To serve, slice the finished salmon gravadlax with a very sharp knife as thinly as possible. Allow at least 5 slices per person.  Divide the slices between four serving plates, grind on the pepper and top with a spoon of the dill crème fraiche. Garnish each plate with lemon wedges, caperberries and dill.

Sunday Set Wine Flight

The Sunday Set wine flight is all about  a small selection of wines chosen by us, for you to try each and every Sunday.

Wines  you may not necessarily choose yourself, some of our favourites, or wines that are just screaming out to be sampled.

We will kick off with  three of my favourites from Northern Italy.

First a white from wine maker Nunzio GhiraldiTrebbiano di Lugana is the grape variety, a distant cousin of Verdicchio and native to the southern shores of Lake Garda in the Northern region of Lombardy.

The wine Lugana 'Il Gruccione' is produced from vines, at least 40 years old and  the first pressings of juice only,  from extremely low yields of fruit.

The name 'Il Gruccione' is taken from the colourful little bird (Bee Eater) that arrives from North Africa around the vineyards in the summer, this pretty little bird is featured on the front label.

  Il Gruccione - Little Bee

Il Gruccione - Little Bee

The wine has a wonderful crisp texture and  a mouth watering range of herbal notes with subtle tropical fruits.

We like to enjoy this wine in its youth, lots of citrus and green fruit to the fore before the palate reveals more exotic notes and a weighty richness to counter the crisp freshness. Works very well with herby salads, fish and porky items.

We have been lucky enough to try some back vintages of this wine, this managed to age very gracefully, the acidity allowing the wine to develop and mellow out, a rich leesy balanced profile with some great complexity and weight, a great wine and one to explore!

20170221_200726.jpg
  unzio with a 1997 Cru Lugana in his kitchen when we visited in February 2017

unzio with a 1997 Cru Lugana in his kitchen when we visited in February 2017

Next up is another favourite of mine, this time from Piedmont

The Travaglini estate has established itself in the area of Gattinara as the most esteemed producer of traditional, limited-production wines from the Nebbiolo grape.

 The vineyards of Gatinara sitting under the italian Alps

The vineyards of Gatinara sitting under the italian Alps

A red wine, 100% Nebbiolo, 'Coste della Sesia' from Gattinara in the northern part of Piedmont, 
Nebbiolo can take an age to come to maturity and be ready for you to enjoy, if you don't feel like waiting or indeed investing in some of the more famous wines from this part of Italy, this young nebbiolo is a great alternative and an excellent introduction to the variety.

This nebbiolo has a delicate mineral note, hints of violet, rose and liquorice. Well balanced, with silky tannins and a long and smooth finish. The 'Coste della Sesia' is made to drink young and is extremely fruity and easy to drink.

Travaglini.jpg

For the third and final wine of this selection I'm going to suggest another white from Piedmont,

This time a sweet Moscato from La Morandina. There is no one better placed than Giulio Morando to offer us an example of a moscato wine , his family have been producing wines in this part of the world  for around 500 years and they are a true expression of the what a great Moscato should deliver.

 Henry Butler and the Vineyards of La Morandina

Henry Butler and the Vineyards of La Morandina

100% white Moscato grapes from vineyards in Castiglione Tinella in the Langhe region of Piedmont.

The wine is fresh , fragrant with delicate hints of orange blossom and aromatic herbs when swirled around the glass, very low in alcohol at around 5.5%, slightly sparkling with low acidity and a really fresh herby finish.

I do not find this overly sweet as it is really clean and fresh , its really herbaceous and I like to drink this with deserts that have some fruit such as pear or quince or indeed nuts , almonds and hazelnuts in particular. I want to try this as part of our Sunday Set wine flight as it will bring some sunshine into the winter season!

20170220_144917.jpg

I really hope you pop in to Fourth&Church to try these wines as part of our Sunday Set, they wont always be available so it would be a shame to miss out.