Beetroot and Gin Cured Gravadlax


I’ve long been of the opinion that salmon is best eaten either raw, cured, or smoked; it just has such a lovely texture. Gravadlax is really easy to make, and so festive, particularly with a beetroot cure which makes for quite a trippy result, visually. Psychedelic salmon. There’s also gin, which is always welcome in this house.

Beetroot and Gin Cured Gravadlax Recipe

1 side of salmon, approx 1kg in weight, de-boned, skin on

For the cure

125g caster sugar
125g sea salt
2 medium sized beetroots
50ml gin
6 juniper berries
1 bunch dill

If your salmon has not been previously frozen, then you’re going to need to freeze it. If you’ve bought it from a fishmonger for example, then it will need freezing. If you’ve bought it in a supermarket, chances are it has already been frozen. This is important because it kills parasites that may be present in the fish that would normally be killed by cooking. So freeze it, then defrost and proceed with the curing.

Peel and roughly grate the beetroot, bash the juniper berries and then whack both in a blender with the salt, sugar and gin.

Run your finger over the surface of the salmon to check for any bones. If there are any, remove them with tweezers or pliers.

Cut the salmon in half widthways (mine was cut lengthways due to a kitchen communication fail). Smother the flesh sides with the cure. Lay the dill on top. Sandwich the two halves together so the thin end of one is resting on the thick end of the other. Wrap tightly in cling film. Place in a dish and weigh down with, say, another heavy dish.

Leave the salmon for 3-4 days in the cure, turning every day. After this time, unwrap, rinse briefly, pat dry.

To serve, cut down and slightly on the diagonal so as to cut slices but not the skin. Great with soda bread, butter, crisp bread, capers, lemon, sharp salads. Will keep on the fridge for a week or so, well wrapped.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Rosie December 30, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Beautiful photo, this is nearly exactly how I make mine too, I love the taste and the colour of it – always a showstopper 🙂

    Rosie xx

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      It’s such a brilliant effect isn’t it? And for so little effort.

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    Reply Alicia (foodycat) December 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    So pretty! I totally agree about eating salmon raw – it really is the best way to appreciate it.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen December 30, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      I love the firm texture of it cured, and the softness of it when raw.

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    Reply Kavey December 30, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Oh so pretty. I used a beetroot, lemon zest, salt and sugar cure on salmon trout a couple of years ago (mostly because on the day I went in to buy salmon it looked rank so I went with the salmon trout instead). Was sooo pretty, I rather impressed myself! Love the use of gin and juniper berries in yours!

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      Reply Helen December 31, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Good improv. I meant to put some zest in this one actually but then forgot.

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    Reply Jim December 31, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Looks stunning Helen, what is your gin of choice for this? Have you tried the lovely Warner Edwards Harrington?

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen January 2, 2015 at 10:37 am

      I haven’t! Intrigued. I used Plymouth because I had it already.

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    Reply MsMarmiteLover January 3, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I hate beetroot but I love using it in this way. You get the gorgeous colour without the horrible taste!
    I’ve also used sour cherries to marinate the salmon in which was nice too.
    Lovely post xx

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen January 3, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      Oh wow, sour cherries is a great idea xx

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    Reply Lizzie January 3, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Lovely lovely stuff. We always go straight dill and cure only, though I might be able to convince Pops next year to add beetroot on account of prettiness.

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      Reply Helen January 3, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      To be honest it doesn’t add much flavour, just prettiness.

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        Reply Martina January 7, 2015 at 5:45 pm

        Beetroot and orange is also a good mix!

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    Reply Foodie Eshe January 13, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    WOW. This looks stunning!

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    Reply Gabriella Simonian March 12, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    That is just about the prettiest looking gravlax I’ve ever seen.

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