Cured fish is an entertainer's stand-by, perfect served with crusty bread and pickles. The flavours here are inspired by a Bloody Mary, so it makes sense to serve it with summer-ripe tomatoes. Start this recipe two days ahead to cure the salmon.
- 6 large assorted heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced
- 200 gm mixed heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 3 inner celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced
- ¼ Spanish onion, thinly sliced
- 250 gm sea salt flakes
- 80 gm each brown sugar and caster sugar
- 60 ml vodka
- Finely grated rind of 2 lemons, juice of 1
- 2 tsp jarred horseradish
- 1 tbsp each celery seeds, fennel seeds and white peppercorns
- 1½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 side of Australian or New Zealand salmon (about 1kg), skin on, pin-boned
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- 100 ml olive oil
- 250 gm cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 20 ml vodka
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Tabasco, or to taste
- Juice of ½ lemon, plus extra to taste
- 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 1For cured salmon, combine salt, sugars, vodka, half the rind, juice, horseradish and 1 tsp each of the seeds, peppercorns and chilli in a bowl.
Lay out 2 large pieces of plastic wrap on a work surface, overlapping slightly, spread on half the curing mixture in the same shape as the salmon, then place salmon on top, skin-side down. Spread remaining curing mixture over salmon, enclose tightly with plastic wrap, then wrap in another layer of plastic wrap to help prevent leaking. Place in a non-reactive tray and refrigerate to cure for 2 days, turning occasionally. Wipe off curing mixture, pat dry with paper towels, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until required (up to 3 days). Just before serving, place salmon flesh-side up on an ovenproof tray and scorch with a blowtorch or sear quickly on a hot barbecue. Combine remaining seeds, peppercorns and chilli in a bowl with parsley, remaining lemon rind and 1 tsp salt, and scatter on salmon.
- 2For tomato-Tabasco vinaigrette, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp oil and tomatoes and cook, tossing occasionally, until skins scorch and blister (4-5 minutes). Transfer to a blender with remaining ingredients including oil and blend until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve. Season to taste and adjust acidity if necessary with extra lemon juice or vinegar.
- 3Combine tomatoes, celery and celery leaves, and onion in a bowl, season to taste and drizzle with a little vinaigrette, toss to combine and serve alongside cured trout, with extra vinaigrette drizzled over.
Drink Suggestion: Tangy young chenin blanc. Drink suggestion by Max Allen