One 2 lb side of salmon

First cure

2 beets, peeled and quartered

Zest of 2 lemons

6 tablespoons coarse salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup vodka

Second cure

1 bunch of dill, large stems discarded

3 tablespoons fresh horseradish (or prepared horseradish, well drained)

1/4 cup vodka

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap, then top the plastic with a piece of parchment paper. 

  2. Place beets and lemon zest in a food processor, and pulse until you get a coarse paste.  Transfer beet mixture to bowl and stir in salt, sugar and vodka.

  3. Lay the salmon, skin side down on lined baking sheet.  Remove any pin bones. Top evenly with the beet mixture, ensuring the entire salmon is covered.  

  4. Cover the salmon tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 24 hours.

  5. Remove salmon from fridge and uncover and drain off any excess liquid that has accumulated on the sheet pan. Use a butter knife to carefully remove all the beet cure from the top of the salmon.

  6. Chop the dill finely and mix it with the horseradish and vodka.  Top the entire surface of the salmon with this mixture.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for another 24 hours.

  7. Remove from fridge and unwrap.  Place salmon on cutting board and cut into thin slices.  The dill and horseradish topping will fall off as you slice it, but enough will remain to flavour the salmon well.

Serve in thin slices alongside gherkins, sliced red onions, capers and pumpernickel bread and creme fraiche.

Download a printable version of this recipe here.

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