Back from an early trip to Borough market and bolstered by coffee and a fresh Chelsea bun, I’m ready for some cooking in readiness for some Christmas feasting.
The menu has been planned and re-planned. This is the first blog for the appertivo.
Having originally planned to do just beetroot cured salmon and homemade blinis, I felt the need for a contingency plan. Beetroot! Well beetroot can sometimes be a little too beetroot. Having never tried curing before and with the vodka experiment looking all a little dubious, I wanted the safety need of a second option.
So after scouring the internet, I came across this recipe, which I modified. This is the easier of the two, in terms of mess but the smell was heavenly.
Sugar-cured salmon with orange and star anise
250 gram piece of salmon filler, skin on but bones removed (brought from the wonderful Borough market at 08.00 am this morning)
50 g rock salt
50 g sugar
1 star anise, rough crushed
½ orange, zested
1.5 tbsp of vodka
Combine the salt, sugar, star anise and orange zest. The orange zest makes the mixture incredibly moist and combined with the star anise, the smell is wonderful.
Lay the salmon on a plate skin-side down. Spread the mixture over the salmon flesh and sprinkle over the vodka.
Wrap in clingfilm, then put a board on top and weigh it down. I used the jar of vodka that I have been infusing with pear, plum, of which today I added pomegranate.
Leave for 24 hours, but every few hours tip off any liquid that collects.
Beet-root cured salmon
Hold your breath and dive right it. I love beetroot but it is not to everyone's taste. The colour is fantastic; although the puree as described, it is less than appealing– like a large tongue.
Anyway, here’s the recipe. It’s from BBC food and I am citing the original recipe rather than the modifications I made to suit the 200g piece of fish I used.
It has more salt and sugar than the previous recipe, of which I can only guess why. The proof of course will be in the tasting and that will come on Christmas day.
500 - 700g of salmon
So now, it's time to make your blinis. All I can say is that they are so so easy.
Ingredients are as follows: 70g buckwheat; the same amount again of plain flour; 1/3 tablespoon of baking powder; 175ml of warm milk (it needs to be warm to dissolve the yeast); 1 egg separate (you will whisk the egg white and add later); 125g butter; 1/3 tbsp of dried yeast.
Begin by combining all the dry ingredients, remember to do the normal sifting of flours. Mix the dried yeast with the warmed milk. Separate your eggs and add the yolk to the dry mixture and combine all. Whisk your egg white until they form peaks and then fold in gently. Don't sidestep this part of the recipe that I'm always tempted to do, as the egg whites make the blinis light.
With the 125 g of butter, clarify it by gently melting in a pan over a low heat. Pour off the yellow liquid. What's left, you need to disguard. Heat the clarified butter and drop in dessertspoons of batter. Turn when the blini starts to bubble.
The result is home-cured salmon with blinis.