Save this recipe for Christmas: celebrity chef Matt Moran shares an elegant summer entrée of citrus-cured Yarra Valley salmon with caviar and baby beetroot from his show Paddock to Plate. Curing your own salmon is really straightforward, and is sure to impress guests around your table.
1 small side of salmon (about 900g), belly trimmed
150 g white sugar
100 g table salt
20 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
20 coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
1 lemon rind, finely grated on a microplane
1 lime rind, finely grated on a microplane
1 orange rind, finely grated on a microplane
½ cup dill, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons white sugar
3 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
500 ml water
8 baby beetroot, small tender leaves trimmed and reserved
2 oranges, segmented
Handful of endive leaves
50 g Yarra Valley salmon caviar
Juice of ½ lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
1. Mix sugar, salt, crushed peppercorns and coriander seeds, citrus rinds and half the dill in a bowl to combine well. Spread half the curing mixture in the base of a tray large enough to fit the salmon snugly. Place salmon, skin-side down, in tray, then spread remaining curing mixture over the flesh, rubbing in as you go. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to cure (you’ll need to cure for at least 12 hours for a light cure and up to 24 hours for a more intense cure).
2. To cook the baby beetroot, stir the sugar, vinegar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and then bring to the boil. Add the beetroot and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender. To check if ready, pierce with a skewer, then set aside to cool in the liquid. Drain beetroot and peel (use disposable gloves if you want to avoid stained hands), cut into halves and set aside.
3. Rinse curing mixture off the salmon under cold running water, pat dry thoroughly with absorbent paper. Remove pin-bones with fish tweezers, then spread mustard over salmon flesh with the back of a spoon. Scatter remaining dill over and press to cover.
4. To slice the salmon, starting at one end of the salmon fillet, cut straight down through the flesh with a thin sharp knife until you hit the skin, slicing at 2mm intervals (don’t cut all the way through, the flesh should still be attached to the skin). To remove the skin, cut down through the first incision then slice between the skin and the flesh, keeping your knife flat and cutting along to remove the skin in a single piece (discard skin).
5. To serve: arrange six or seven salmon slices on serving plates, divide beetroot among plates and scatter the orange segments, endive and baby beetroot leaves over the top. Dollop with crème fraiche and salmon caviar, then squeeze the lemon over the top, drizzle with olive oil, season to taste and serve.
Paddock to Plate airs on Wednesdays at 8.30pm, The Lifestyle Channel on Foxtel.
Julia has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam, and New York, and is obsessed with food. She's either cooking or thinking about what to eat next. Follow Julia on Twitter.