I wanted to add a Russian twist to our otherwise rather English Christmas meal (we had a roast turkey with trimmings and a plum pudding) and opted to serve blini with home cured salmon as a starter.
900g piece of salmon
100g sea salt
120g dark soft brown sugar
2 heaped tbsp of rooibos tea (Twinings Winter Warming Infusion)
2 tbsp wild herb rub (mix of thyme, marjoram, sage, fennel seeds etc)
2 tbsp vodka (I used Stolichnaya)
Huge whole salmons were on offer in the shops just before Christmas, and I bought quite a big piece of salmon. It wasn't a fillet exactly or a steak, just a big piece from the middle, as you can see in the photo below. For the first step, remove the bones with a thin knife, wash the salmon and pat dry with the kitchen towel.
Take a deep ceramic dish/tray and place a layer of the cling film on top of it, leaving a wide overlap. Place your salmon in the dish and sprinkle first the rooibos tea and then the wild herbs. I used the Wild herb rub from ForageFineFoods, but you can use any mix of thyme, sage, marjoram and fennel seeds.
Twinings Winter Warming Infusion is a rooibos tea infused with orange flavour and spicy cinnamon, a festive blend of a spectacular colour. The tea itself is intensely red and deep in colour. A pleasure to drink at any time of the day. It comes as a loose tea in a very pretty caddy (I know, caddies and I, we love each other). It is a recent addition to an ever-growing range of Twinings teas. I thought it would add a pizzazz to my home cured salmon, and it did.
The next layer was the sea salt. Then comes the brown sugar. And the last step: pour the vodka (I used Stolichnaya, but I suppose any good quality vodka would do).
Wrap up the salmon in the cling film, so that it is all wrapped like a parcel. Place a smaller ceramic tray on top (I use the lasagne dish, which is quite heavy). Put the trays in the fridge, and add more weight inside the second tray. Leave it in the fridge for 2-3 days to cure.
Unwrap the cling film and rinse the salmon under the cold running water.
The salmon acquires a deep rich colour. It doesn't taste too salty, in fact the flavour is quite delicate.
Slice the salmon thinly and serve on top of the blini with a dollop of the soured cream.
The rooibos tea with its festive blend proved to be a lovely addition to the home cured salmon.
For the blini recipe have a look at my older post if you want.
If you liked this recipe, you might also like another recipe for the home cured salmon with beetroot, vodka and dill.