Home cured salmon with hot smoked salmon pate, pickles & rye bread is a lovely little Christmas starter, crammed full of useful techniques that can either be used individually or together. The hot smoked salmon is an unusual ingredient that can be bought from good delis and Farmshops. Perfect for guests, both young and old.
250g salmon fillet
250g hot smoked salmon
300g of a 50/50 salt and sugar mix
handful fresh herbs
2 tbsp lemon zest
4 thin slices rye bread
squeeze of lemon
140g crème fraiche
handful seasonal salad leaves
For the pickles:
300ml cider vinegar
200g soft brown sugar
1/2 a cucumber
1 red onion
1/2 a courgette
1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp fennel seeds
thumbnail of fresh turmeric
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
Start two to three days before by curing the salmon. Blend together the salt and sugar mix, a handful of fresh herbs, the lemon zest and a turn of pepper. Lay a small sheet of tin foil on to the bench and sprinkle a handful of the salt mix. Lay one piece of salmon on top and scatter over the remaining salt mixture, ensuring that the salmon is well coated. Wrap tightly and pop into the fridge for 2-3 days, turning over each day.
The same day, pickle the vegetables. Finely slice the red onion and cut the courgette and cucumber into slightly thicker pieces. Scatter these with salt and set aside for 2-3 hours, which will draw out the moisture. Drain away any excess water, give the vegetables a quick rinse under cold water and pop into a kilner jar. Heat the cider vinegar, sugar, spices and turmeric in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved. When the pickling liquor is clear and the sugar has dissolved, bring it to the boil and pour over the vegetables in the kilner jar. Seal and allow to cool at room temperature before storing in the fridge. When preserving vegetables in this way, it is important to make sure that the vegetables, your hands and the kilner jars are very clean at all times. When cool, the kilner should be sealed, even when the latch has been loosened.
Make the pate by breaking up the hot smoked salmon with your fingers and folding through the crème fraiche, lemon zest and juice and lots of chopped herbs to create a light pate. Season with salt and pepper and pop into the fridge.
Rinse the cured salmon of any salt and slice finely with a sharp knife.
Toast the slices of rye bread under a hot grill until golden before taking out and allowing to crisp up.
To finish, arrange the cured salmon and smoked salmon pate on a large plate, finishing with dressed leaves, pickles and shards of toasted rye bread.
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