We're breakfast addicts around here - and I DO NOT mean a sluggish piece of toast with a meagre smearing of margerine... I mean PROPER breakfast! I could do without breakfast any day during the week, in fact, I lived completely without breakfast for many years, convinced that my stomach would take even longer to wake up than I did. So I discovered the joys of breakfast only very late, but (and maybe just because of it) I now indulge in it with allthemore passion.
Of course, I am talking about doing it in style, which is something I can only allow myself to do on weekends. Mid-week, I usually settle for home-made granola and a freshly cut fruit salad. Come Saturday, though, it's time to pull out all the stops: cooked eggs in all shapes and sizes (e.g. my speciality of eggs florendict, oeufs cocotte, huevos a a mexicana, etc), freshly baked bread (more on this as soon as I manage to take a half-decent picture), pastrami or BLT bagels and/or some salmon. And again, we don't settle for second best: the most glorious salmon ever is smoked at my local fishmongers and he is a super hero for shaving off the thinnest slices... no chewy bits that stick between your teeth, just the tenderest, melt-in-the-mouth fish you could ever imagine. Recently, he's taken to also making gravadlax - but I thought, hang on, I might not be able to build a smoker in my house, but I can surely cure my own salmon? And so I did.
Help came in the form of Marcus Wareing's new book One Perfect Ingredient, Three Ways to Cook It. Now, lets forget for the moment that, as anyone who has known me for a few years will be able to testify, he has blatantly stolen my idea for a cookbook, he again has some great treats on offer - I didn't actually get past the gravadlax, but this recipe worked really well. In the future, I will probably stick to my other recipe, as I found that the acidity of the orange juice toughens the fish unnecessarily around the edges... my other version just uses sugar, sea salt, spices and citrus peel, so you get all the seasoning you want, but lose nothing of the flavour of the fish.
So there you go, a lovely, home-made treat for you to try this weekend - incredibly easy to make and a perfect way to impress your guests: "You did what? You cured your own salmon?" "Oh yesss!"
400 g salmon loin (skinned and deboned)
For the marinade:
1 unwaxed lemon (cut into quarters)
110 g brown sugar
75 g coarse sea salt
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp peppercorns
1 pack dill (ca. 40 g)
ca. 500 ml fresh orange juice
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 pack dill (ca. 40 g, finely chopped)
Blitz the all the ingredients for the marinade (except the orange juice) in a food processor. Coat the salmon with the paste, place in an airproof plastic container and pour over enough orange juice to just cover the fish. Place in the fridge and marinate for 24 hours.
Remove the fish from the container, rinse well and thoroughly pat dry. Spread with dijon mustard, then coat with the dill.
Serve thinly sliced with sweet mustard sauce on the side**.
* Adapted from Marcus Wareing One Perfect Ingredient, Three Ways to Cook It