Gravadlax is one of the few Christmas-appropriate dishes that feels really treaty and momentous but isn’t going to ruin your day by filling you up. It also yields quite a lot so you can eke it out over a few events and parties. I made it up a few days before Christmas and it was enough to feed one piggish family and then another batch of hungry souls a week or so later.
The colour of it is really exciting on the table, it’s so pretty dished up. I served it with a squeeze of lemon, fresh grated beetroot, some dill and a half and half mix of light whipped cream and greek yoghurt, soured with some lemon. This makes it much lighter than pure cream, almost like a foam, teamed with the super fluffy potato blinis it’s a light bite of perfection.
two boned salmon tails
100g demerara sugar
175g coarse sea salt
10g black peppercorns
600g raw beetroot
4 tbsp vodka
chopped bunch of dill
1 tbsp fennel seeds
4 tbsp orange zest
Nigel Slater’s recipe for beetroot gravadlax is a winner, it also has vodka and orange zest for flavour. You basically just chuck all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them all up before rubbing into the fish. I used two tails because they sit well together but you could equally do a fillet if you want to make less. Fit it into a snug dish, cover with clingfilm and a small plate and stick the heaviest jars or dishes on top of it to get a squeeze on. You can leave it for a few days in the fridge then when it’s time to serve just scrape off all the marinade and wipe down with a paper towel. Then get the sharpest knife you have and slice the thinnest slices on a slight diagonal.
350g Desiree potatoes, peeled
3 medium eggs, separated
50g self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
I used Delia’s potato blini recipe, it’s really light and low on flour which is great when you’re cramming in the carbs. I’d love to try this out again but using buckwheat flour for a bit more earthiness. I used her method which I can’t really be bothered to go into it because I find all that bakingy measury stuff really dull but it’s all on her site. Delia says to steam the potatoes which is a great trick to get them cooked and fluffy but not soggy.
I made the blinis with slightly smaller portions than she recommends, because I like mine about the diameter of a French stick. Just with a bit of oil in the pan spoon out the mixture in batches of about 3-4 and gently fry till browned on both sides. It’s a really soothing activity, just sitting by the cooker and getting into the repetitiveness of it. Sizing them slightly smaller like I did, I think I made about 20 or so, which you could always freeze.
Isabelle O'Carroll: I’m a writer, content designer and consultant with 11+ years’ experience across fashion, food and drink and the arts.