Curing 101: Beetroot Cured Salmon With Horseradish Ginger Sour Cream

Beetroot Cured Salmon

Have you ever tried curing your own salmon? It's surprisingly easy. I always thought that it involved magic sorcery or skills that I didn't possess but it's actually so much simpler than one might think. And beetroot curing gives the bright orange salmon a striking purple edge to it!

I decided to make use of a wild salmon fillet that I bought from Oceana Traders in Avalon. It was a wild Canadian salmon fillet snap frozen and bright orange in colour. If you compare wild vs farmed salmon the first thing that strikes you is the colour-wild salmon is bright orange while farmed is paler almost milky orange. Salmon is actually naturally white but the orange comes from the krill and the feed that wild salmon eat.

Beetroot Cured Salmon

The other difference is that wild salmon is leaner than farmed salmon because the fish is free swimming. Farmed salmon has white streaks of fat while wild salmon has no streaks at all. I'd love to use wild salmon all the time but it is harder to find and more expensive (we don't have wild salmon in Australia, only farmed) so it needs to be imported from countries like Canada.

To cure salmon all you need to do is to coat it in a mix of beetroot, ginger, salt, sugar and any spices that you like. I had really built it up in my head to be a big task but once it was done in all of 10 minutes, I was a bit "Oh is that it?". Then I decided to make a cake afterwards with the extra time I had.

Beetroot Cured Salmon

Along with curing we've recently tried our hand at other new things. It was Nina's birthday recently and she wanted to try archery. I was glad that she picked an activity that I could actually do that didn't require me to sweat.

Early one Saturday morning we made our way to the archery range. Nina and Garth had a bit of a competition going with each other. Their relationship is really based on a healthy sense of competition. Mr NQN was also very good at it.

As for me, I managed to shoot a lot of arrows off into the distance. Most of them didn't make it onto the board and I'd constantly have to take the walk of shame out to the field. I was a bit grumpy and muttering to myself and the instructor was trying to be very helpful although I didn't know how to answer him when he asked, "So what are you aiming for?". And then I started to get hungry because it was brunch time.

Beetroot Cured Salmon

Over the 1.5 hours I did improve, even getting an arrow (once, a fluke no doubt) in the yellow centre but not the bullseye. And with that and my stomach growling I mentally gave up and concentrated on my next task at hand: eating, a sport I am proficient at.

So tell me Dear Reader, which sport are you good at? Do you ever build up a recipe or task in your head only to find it simple? And do you compete with your other half?

Beetroot Cured Salmon With Horseradish Ginger Cream

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus 1-2 days curing time

Cooking time: 0 minutes

  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • Fillet salmon (around 800g, I used wild salmon), if you are using fresh, freeze overnight beforehand and then thaw when ready to cure
  • 2 medium sized roasted beetroots (about 350g/12.4ozs total)
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled
  • 2/3 cup rock salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Horseradish Ginger Cream

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pickled Japanese ginger
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish cream (or to taste)

Note: if you are using wild vs farmed salmon, wild is leaner and much less fatty and takes a bit less time to cure than farmed. This would be done in 1.5 days with wild salmon, 2 days with farmed.

Beetroot Cured Salmon

Step 1 - Toast the caraway seeds, peppercorns, juniper berries and fenugreek and then process to a fine powder in a spice grinder. Place the beetroot and ginger with this mix along in a food processor and blitz. Add the salt and sugar and make a press.

Beetroot Cured Salmon

Step 2 - Lay out a large sheet of cling film on a tray and place some of the beetroot mix under the fillet skin side down. Place the rest of the cure mix on top of the salmon. Wrap tightly and then weigh down with cans. Drain the liquid from the salmon once a day and it should be done within 1-2 days.

Beetroot Cured Salmon

Beetroot Cured Salmon
Salmon wrapped up

Beetroot Cured Salmon
Curing liquid drained from the salmon

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