The Scandinavian method of curing raw salmon with salt, sugar and herbs gets an eye-catching twist with the addition of beetroot here – apparently a Finnish variation. You can use other fish too – trout, for example, or mackerel (which will take only about 3 hours to pickle.) The accompanying sauce is a particular family favourite – Babú has been known to eat it by the ladleful – and is the only purpose for which I ever use the darker brown French mustard.
200g beetroots, uncooked, peeled and grated
20g fresh dill, finely chopped
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vodka
600g salmon fillet, scaled and de-boned
1 orange, zest finely grated
2 tbsp sea salt
Radishes to serve (optional)
Place the salmon skin side down on a piece of clingfilm. Mix the salt and sugar together, and rub evenly over both sides of the fish.
In a small bowl mix the beet, orange, dill and vodka, then press this all over the salmon. Wrap up the clingfilm, then wrap in foil, put on a plate and place another plate on top with a weight on it. Chill for 36 hours.
After chilling, unwrap the fish and remove the coating (scrape or rinse off). Slice thinly down to the skin and arrange the slices, slightly overlapping on a serving plate or on individual plates. Garnish with dill sprigs and, if you like, sliced red radish. Serve with the sauce below.
Mustard & Dill Mayonnaise
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp French mustard
1 tbsp white sugar
150ml groundnut or sunflower oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped dill
Salt and pepper (ideally white)
Whisk the egg yolk with the mustard and sugar in a medium-sized bowl, drip in the oil drop by drop whisking all the time until the mixture has emulsified, then add the vinegar and dill and season with salt and pepper.