A special occasion, be it a milestone or festive celebration, deserves a salad that will impress your guests. This Beetroot Cured Salmon Salad is spectacular, not to mention delectable! Go ahead, spoil your family and friends!
Why I Love Beetroot Cured Salmon Salad with Black Fish Roe
Beetroot cured salmon has become very popular over the last few years with most of the celebrity chefs also jumping on board and creating their own versions.
The beetroot was a popular ingredient for curing because of the gorgeous purple hues it creates on the outer layer of the salmon.
It truly is visually stunning when you cut the salmon fillet and purple contrasts so beautifully against the orange of the fish.
I do remember being very intimidated by the curing process as it was quite a foreign cooking method for me.
My first real taste of curing anything was when I tried making a ceviche for a Mexican themed party and I was amazed at how easy it was and what lime and lemon could do to fish!
One year for my birthday, Phen threw me a glorious dinner party. There were 5 families and each couple were in charge of one course, hence creating a mini degustation of sorts. I chose to start with the first appetizer and I knew I wanted it to be a cold dish and it had to wow!
So, I decided to give this beetroot cured salmon a go. I could not believe how easy it was! I’m not sure why I was so intimidated by the process! All you need is time but the prep only takes 20 minutes, if that! Just chuck it in the fridge and come back in 2 days.
Needless to say, it was a hit! I have had many requests to re-create this beetroot cured salmon salad and have done so on numerous occasions with the same reactions. Still a wow salad!
What Is Curing?
Curing is a food preservation and flavouring process. The process is done through pickling, smoking and/or fermentation through the use of salt, sugar and/or nitrates.
The most popular way of curing fish and meat is the use of salt. In the old days, having preserved food meant they were able to save valuable sources of food, especially in times of either poor harvest, harsh climates or a poor hunting season.
All meat and fish contain spoilage-causing microorganisms and salt inhibits its growth by drawing water out of microbial cells through osmosis. As the unwanted bacteria is lowered, good bacteria comes forward to create acidity.
Difference Between Gravlax, Lox and Smoked Salmon?
No doubt you would have heard these terms used on a regular basis and perhaps wondered how they differ. Here are the facts:
- Gravlax – Gravlax is a Nordic recipe whereby they cure the salmon with salt, sugar and dill.
- Lox – Lox is very similar to Gravlax except that it is cured in a salty brine with no use of sugar or dill. The word Lox stems from the Yiddish word for salmon, “laks.” and the curing process originates from Scandinavia.
- Smoked Salmon – Cold smoked salmon has a raw texture and easily mistaken for gravlax or lox. The salmon is mainly salt cured and then cold smoked at very low temperatures. So, smoked salmon is actually a cooked fish whereas gravlax and lox are not.
Now that you know the difference, go ahead and create those extra special salad recipes!
Difference Between Caviar and Roe
Caviar and roe are by and large the same thing. They are both fish eggs.
From a culinary perspective, roe fish eggs is in its natural form. Caviar is roe that has been cured with salt and then placed in tins for aging.
The term caviar is reserved exclusively for the roe of sturgeon of which the rarest species beluga, produces the world’s most expensive caviar. At the time of writing, Iranian beluga caviar costs approximately USD $6800 per kg!
For mere mortals like us, we will make do with the roe of other fish e.g. whitefish, lumpfish, salmon, trout etc… their roe is also salt cured and packaged in tins or jars.
They are essentially also “caviar” and you can get them from your local fishmonger or in the seafood section of your supermarket.
If you love fish roe as much as we do, try our salad with tobiko: Prawn and Fennel Salad with Yuzu Jam Dressing.
How to Make Beetroot Cured Salmon Salad with Black Fish Roe
How to Cure the Salmon
No doubt you may have read plenty of other recipes or watched YouTube videos for how to cure salmon. You will find that most of them have a few of the same processes which I didn’t follow.
I didn’t use the entire salmon belly fillet as it was way too big. I simply bought salmon fillets steaks from the fishmonger like you would for dinner at home.
I also did not leave the skin on and I made that decision because I wanted the purple hue to go all the way around the fillet and also, I couldn’t be bothered removing the skin after the curing process.
Lastly, I did not touch it for 48 hours nor did I place a heavy weight on it so it would cure better. And it all worked totally fine for me and I’ve done this a few times now.
So, let’s start. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the medium sized beetroot for 30 minutes. Drain and let it cool a little and remove the skin off the beetroot.
Chop the beetroot into small pieces. In a food processor, add the chopped beetroot, caster sugar, salt, peppercorns and caraway seeds. Blitz until it is pureed. Then divide the puree into 4 portions.
For each of the salmon fillet, lay 2 sheets of cling wrap on a sheet pan or baking tray.
Put one portion of the beetroot puree on the cling wrap and place the salmon on top. Cover the salmon with another portion of the beetroot puree. Then wrap the salmon tightly with cling wrap.
Repeat for the second fillet. Let it cure in the fridge for 48 hours.
After 48 hours, remove the puree off the salmon. You can give them a quick rinse and then pat it dry. Cut the salmon into thin slices.
How to Prepare the Rest of the Salad
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the baby beetroot for 15 minutes.
Drain, let it cool a little and remove the skin off the beetroot. Pat dry and cut into half and then into thin slices.
Chop dill to yield 1 tbsp.
How to Assemble Beetroot Cured Salmon Salad
On a flat surface, place the mixed green leaves. Essentially this forms the border of the salad. Then spread out the broccoli sprouts on top.
Fold each of the salmon fillet slices into half or roll if big enough and place them on top of the greens.
In between the beetroot cured salmon slices, place the sliced baby beetroot.
Use a teaspoon to scoop out a small portion of the fish roe and with a second teaspoon, slide the caviar off the first teaspoon onto the salmon. Do this evenly throughout the salad.
Sprinkle the chopped dill over the salad.
Season with salt and pepper.
Scoop out the horseradish cream onto a small side dish and serve next to the salad.
For me, the combination of the sweetly cured salmon, salty black fish roe and the peppery horseradish is just second to none. When you watch your dinner guests nod in approval as they wolf down every single bite, you know you’ve done the dish justice!
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Beetroot Cured Salmon Salad with Black Fish Roe
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the medium sized beetroot for 30 minutes. Drain, let it cool a little and remove the skin off the beetroot.
- Chop the beetroot into small pieces. Using a hand blender, add the chopped beetroot, caster sugar, salt, peppercorns and caraway seeds. Blitz until it is pureed. Divide into 4 portions.
- For each of the salmon fillet, lay 2 sheets of plastic food wrap on a sheet pan or baking tray. Put one portion the beetroot puree on the plastic food wrap and place the salmon on top. Cover the salmon with the another portion of the beetroot puree. Then wrap the salmon tightly with plastic food wrap. If you don't feel it is encased properly, you can wrap it again. The idea is to prevent as much seepage as possible so that the beetroot can cure the salmon properly.Repeat for the second fillet. Let it cure in the fridge for 48 hours.
- After 48 hours, remove the puree off the salmon fillets. You can give them a quick rinse and then pat it dry. Cut the salmon into thin slices.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the baby beetroot for 15 minutes. Drain and let it cool a little and remove the skin off the beetroot. Pat dry and cut into half and then into thin slices.
- Chop dill to yield 1 tbsp.
- On a flat surface, place the mixed green leaves. Essentially this forms the border of the salad. Then spread out the broccoli sprouts on top.
- Fold each of the salmon fillet slices into half or roll if big enough and place them on top of the greens.
- In between the beetroot cured salmon slices, place the sliced baby beetroot.
- Use a teaspoon to scoop out a small portion of the fish roe and with a second teaspoon, slide the fish roe off the first teaspoon onto the salmon. Do this evenly throughout the salad.
- Sprinkle the chopped dill over the salad.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Scoop out the horseradish cream onto a small side dish and serve next to the salad.
- You can use any fish roe for this recipe. My second choice would have been to use Ikura or Japanese salmon roe.
- Any sprout will do if you’re unable to find broccoli sprouts. But do try and add it as it gives the salad a softer green to eat with the salmon.
- Cured salmon can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days so it’s a fantastic salad to prepare ahead of time.
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