Not sure who the authority declaring or approving international food and beverage “days” is, but I hope they keep up the good work with days like 15 June, World Gin Day.
In recognition, I did the only thing appropriate – buy a big bottle of Tanqueray and think about what kind of recipe I could craft out of it. I decided that a suitably celebratory dish would be a side of salmon, liberally doused in gin and some herbs and spices, left to cure, then thinly sliced and served with a toasted fennel seed aioli.
This is a great dish for an afternoon platter, picnics and for a luxurious start to the day as breakfast. It works well with a creamy spread like mayonnaise or cream cheese, salty sides like capers or pickled cucumbers, or just a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.
Gin Cured Salmon
You will need to start this recipe at least one day ahead.
500g salmon, centre cut, pin boned, skin on
1/3 cup salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped dill
2 teaspoons juniper berries, lightly crushed
2 teaspoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
1/3 cup gin
You’ll need a baking, a smaller baking dish or tray that can fit inside the larger one, something weighty (eg canned food) and cling film for this recipe.
Combine salt, sugar, dill, juniper berries, peppercorns, gin and orange rind in a bowl and mix well to combine.
Lay a sheet of cling film down. Spread half the mixture in the centre the size of the salmon fillet. Lay the salmon, skin side down, on the film and press down firmly. Spread the remaining half curing mixture over the top of the salmon, running it in firmly. Wrap the fish tightly, then cover with another layer of cling film, wrapping tightly and ensuring the fish is completely concealed.
Place the fish parcel skin-side down in the larger baking dish. Top with smaller baking dish and add weighty goods to weigh it down. Place in the fridge for 12 hours. Remove from cling film and flip, pouring over the gin solution. Rewrap tightly place back into dish, weight down and leave for another 12 hours.
Once cured, sliced salmon very thinly and serve with toasted fennel aioli, fennel shavings and some pumperknickel or rye bread.
Toasted fennel aioli
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
180ml canola oil (or vegetable, rice bran)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and ground
Combine egg yolk, mustard and lemon juice in a processor or stick blender with whisk attachment. Blend together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. With the motor running (if you’re using a stick blender unless you have a friend to hold the container you may need to take a seat and stabilise the container between your legs), slowly pout in the oil, over about 2 minutes. The mixture should emulsify and become thick.
Once thick, mix in the ground fennel seeds and some salt to taste.