SculleryMade’s Drunken Cured Salmon
Eggs Benny made with cured or smoked salmon and a proper, thick hollandaise sauce is probably my favourite of the five food groups! I once started a food blog, “Eggs Bennadicted” to share my hollandaise-slathered experiences, but never took that first step into the bloggosphere! I take wee notions to make it at home now and again and if I’ve a bit of time to organize myself, I’ll make it with home-cured salmon.
Cured Salmon is not particularly difficult to make, it just takes a few days to plan ahead and you can try it with just about any kind of spirit depending on what flavours you like most (and what’s left in your booze cupboard!). You’ll need just five simple ingredients to make your own; fresh salmon fillets, salt, sugar, spirits and patience – if you have all five, you’re in for a treat!
The salmon will take on any subtle flavours really easily so try to stay away from using strong flavours like Garlic in your cure. Get as creative as you like with more subtle flavours once you have your base of sugar, salt and alcohol set. You could try adding a small amount of spices and herbs to the mix. The three combinations I’ve shared below are:
Vodka and Earl Grey Tea
ShortCross Gin and cracked black pepper
RedBreast Whiskey and Ginger
The Earl Grey tea used was a blend from a Belfast Foodie Favourite, Linda from Arcadia Deli on the Lisburn Road. I called in a couple of weeks ago to pick up some Broighter Gold, Guanciale and Young Buck’s to make more Croquettas (I’m still working on that recipe and I’m not 100% happy to share it until I have one more go!) and I was almost out the door when Linda got chatting to me about Thompson’s tea’s. I could listen to Linda talk about food all day, she has such a great knowledge on local foods and is so passionate about the produce Arcadia deli stock’s. She opened up a couple of packets of Thompson’s tea to let me get a real sense of the flavours in each blend and the Earl Grey was the one that stood out to me. I wouldn’t be a fancy tea drinker at all (I think Earl Grey is fancy, maybe you don’t!), but I immediately thought of a few different recipe’s I’d like to try with this fragrant blend of leaves and flowers and the idea to try a vodka infused earl grey cured salmon sprang to mind! I hope you can get your hands on some to try at home yourself!
I have been a big fan of Rademon Estate’s ShortCross Gin since they launched Northern Ireland’s first craft-distilled gin last year. I use their Gin in recipes all the time, (salad dressings & fruit salads in particular, not just cocktail recipes!) because it never overpowers a dish and here it adds a lovely floral flavour to the cured salmon. The flavours from the Gin would be overpowered by adding too many other ingredients, so I just seasoned with a little cracked black pepper to give a spicy hit in every couple of bites!
I love Irish Whiskey and I wanted to try a Ginger and Whiskey cure with a touch of lime and chilli – this third cure blend gives a “wetter” cured salmon and the acid in the lime leaves the Salmon with a pale white coating, but that’s the nature of having a more acidic cure so don’t worry if it stands out a little differently to the other two. This salmon is best enjoyed with a wee dram of the same Whiskey, because you’ve gone to all the effort – reward yourself!
SculleryMaid’s Drunken Cured Salmon
For each cure mix:
160g Fresh Salmon Fillets
30g light muscovado sugar (brown sugar or granulated white sugar are OK too)
30g sea salt flakes
Vodka Cure (150g Thompson’s Earl Grey Tea)
Whiskey & Ginger Cure (1tsp freshly grated ginger, 1 chopped chilli, grated rind and juice of 1/2 lime)
Shortcross Gin Cure (Freshly ground black pepper)
Preparation time: 5 minutes for each cure
Curing time: 24hr minimum
Calories per serving: 120 calories (each fillet serves 3 people)
Label three sealable sandwich bags for each of the cures.
Mix all of the dry ingredients for each cure in the individual cure bags.
Rinse clean each of the salmon fillets with cold water and remove any bones with tweasers.
Using a pastry brush, wash the salmon flesh with the alcohol then transfer the fillet into the bag of dry cure and cover the flesh completely with the cure.
Pour the remaining alcohol into the bag taking care not to wash any cure off the flesh.
Seal the bags and cure in a fridge for a minimum of 24 hours.
Before serving, rinse the cure off the salmon with cold water and holding a sharp kitchen knife at a 45degree angle, slice the salmon very thinly.
Don’t keep the cured salmon for longer than 48hrs after curing (that’s a total of 3 days from fresh). The freshly sliced salmon can be frozen and used within 24hrs after thawing.
We hope you try this in your kitchen and we would love to hear your feedback – don’t forget to share your recipes with us on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.
SculleryMade is a Belfast blog sharing recipes using quality, locally sourced ingredients in cooking, brewing, baking and curing.
SculleryMade – Ormeau Rd, Belfast Contact: Caoimhe@scullery-made.com