It’s easier to see how brilliant Charles Dickens is by reading a lesser rival. Just as it’s simpler to appreciate home by going away, silence by listening to Sir Paul McCartney and freshly caught fish by eating tinned tuna. For that reason here are some pink/crimson/red things eaten and enjoyed in my house in the past couple of days. All of them were delightful, but none comes close in startling pinkness to what I have in store for you in a moment.
Maybe the beetroot gave the game away. I’ve just made searingly pink beetroot-cured gravadlax which takes the pinkometer into new zones on the dial. As the Mayor of London Boris Johnson might have said, ‘pink-omania is about to go zoink.’
BEETROOT CURED GRAVADLAX
There are various combinations of ingredients that work well, but this is how I like it best:
- 600 — 700g salmon fillet
- 300g raw beetroot, peeled and roughly grated
- 100g sea salt flakes
- 90g sugar
- A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated horseradish — about 40g
- 1 bunch of dill, chopped
- Zest of one lemon
- 50ml gin
You can leave the skin on, or remove it. It’s really up to you. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Tip half the beetroot mixture onto an oval plate just a little bit bigger than the fish and then place the salmon on top, making sure the underside is completely covered. A plastic container would also work, although you may find it difficult to remove the pink stains later! Use the remaining beetroot mixture to cover the top of the fish. Cover the whole lot with a double layer of cling film and place weights on the top — I use another plate with a few tins stacked on it. Put the fish in the fridge and after 24 hours it will be ready. Wash off all the curing ingredients, pat the fish dry and then slice and eat. I like to serve it with a little thick natural yoghurt into which I’ve grated some more fresh horseradish, along with some salt and pepper.
It will keep in the fridge, covered, for around a week.