Monday, 27 December 2010

A cure for everything

Curing is the ultimate slow food experience
Earlier this year I was given a book from a friend who knows I like a challenge. I have been desperate to tackle one  of these recipes ever since the book arrived. While the thespian has this year decided he wants to cure his own ham,for my project I have decided on Gravadlax. Dill flavoured gravadlax is the classic version, but the author suggests one might try personalizing the recipe.
Step 1 - the raw cure
I very much liked the sound of this, and as dill is very hard to find in the Algarve I decided on a Thai style gravadlax with ginger and coriander dressing.


You Will need:
2 matching salmon fillets
1.5 level tablespoons sea salt
1.5 level tablespoons white sugar
2.5cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
2 sticks lemongrass sliced very finely
1 teaspoon crushed dried kaffir lime leaves
grated rind of 2 limes
1 teaspoon crushed black pepprcorns
1 medium red chilli deseeded and finely chopped 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves   


The finished cure with sauce






For the Dressing:
1 large egg yolk
1level teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 level teaspoon caster sugar
125ml peanut oil
1cm piece root ginger peeled and grated
Juice of 1 lime
! tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
Flor de sal, black pepper

Get your fishmonger to cut two matching fillets, one from each side of the same fish. It´s best if they can be cut square for reasons of neatness and economy. In order to kill any parasites in the fish, freeze it for 24 hours and then defrost in the fridge. Combine together all the curing ingredients and lay the two salmon fillets skin side down on a sheet of cling film. Spread a thick layer of the dry cure mixture (sugar and salt ) on the flesh side of each fillet, making sure it is all covered. Add a layer of the rest of the cure pressing it on vigorously.Turn over one fillet and fit it on top of the other, cut side to cut side. Wrap the whole sandwich tightly in several layers of cling film, and put it in a shallow dish or tray. Weigh the fish down, first with a board then with heavy weights. Store in the refrigerator and leave to marinate for a minimum of two days and maximum of five, turning the fish each day. The longer you leave it the more robust the texture will be. Unwrap the cured fish, pat it dry and scrape off most of the cure. Lay it skin side down and cut thin slices diagonally across the fish.



* Watch this space to see how the thespian´s ham cure turns out.





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