Back in June myself and Nicola made the trip through to Summerhall Distillery to attend the Edinburgh Juniper Festival, a celebration of some of the best gins from around the world. I was the designated driver that day which meant that I couldn't enjoy the gin as much as I would have liked, however it did give me the chance to talk to some of the producers and brand ambassadors about their products and the best way to enjoy them.
After the festival I was contacted by Darnley's View Gin, a boutique gin distiller who make their London Dry gin in the time honoured way by redistilling the botanicals with a four times distilled neutral spirit in a pot still. I really liked the smoothness of their London Dry Gin but was even more impressed with the complex flavours of cinnamon and nutmeg in the Darnley's View Spiced Gin.
After a few emails back and forth, it became clear that both myself and Darnley's View were keen to see how their gin could work with food, either as a paired drink or perhaps as a key ingredient in a recipe. Since the first moment that I tasted the Spice Gin, I had been thinking that the botanicals would work well as a curing agent for salmon and with this in mind, I was sent a bottle of the Spiced Gin to put my idea into practice.
- 2 salmon fillets (check for & remove any pin bones) I used two fillets from Lidl which cost just £2.29
- 1 tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp pink peppercorns, crushed
- zest of one lime
- 1 tbsp grapefruit juice
- 30g salt
- 30g sugar
- 6 tbsp gin, I used Darnley's View Spiced Gin
- Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, stirring until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
- Place the salmon in a dish then pour over the curing liquor, making sure that the fillets are covered.
- Wrap in cling film then place a smaller dish on top of the salmon then weigh down with a couple of tins of beans.
- Place the dish in the fridge for a minimum of 48 hours to cure. You can cure the salmon for up to five days for a deeper flavour.
- After 48 hours, remove the salmon from the fridge. Pour off the curing liquor before rinsing the fillets under cold water then pat the salmon dry with some kitchen roll. The fish should feel firm to the touch.
- To serve, slice the salmon with your sharpest knife. Use a long, slow slicing motion to get thin slices of lovely cured salmon.
My first attempt tasted better than I had expected although it was perhaps a little too salty so I've reduced the salt in the recipe aboveDill and peppercorn are natural partners for salmon but I was surprised at how well the spices from the gin had penetrated the fish. The juniper from the gin was noticeable while the subtle flavours of cinnamon and nutmeg added a touch of balance to the oily fish. I served my gin cured salmon in a salad for lunch as well as in a sandwich with cream cheese but I'm sure that the cured salmon would work well with scrambled eggs or in a omelette too.
The cured salmon will last for up to three weeks in the fridge provided that it's kept in an airtight container although my cured salmon was finished in just a couple of days. Looks like I'll need to get my next batch on the go pretty soon and with so many different gins available, the flavour combinations that can be used to cure the salmon are endless. So if you like gravlax the why not give this recipe a go and let me know how your get on?
I would like to thank Darnley's View for sending me a bottle of their Spiced Gin to use in the cured gin recipes and look forward to using the rest of the bottle although next time might be in a Gin Bucks, I know that the spiced flavours from the gin will work well with ginger ale for a refreshing long summer drink.