“Instead of buying small packets of smoked or cured salmon, it’s more cost efficient to do it yourself – and it's super easy, too. You’ll often find whole sides of salmon on offer, so keep an eye out. Take the pressure off the big day by starting your cure three days before. ”
For the blackberry cure, zest the clementines and bash the juniper berries, then add to a food processor along with the blackberries and blitz to a fairly smooth paste.
Transfer to a bowl along with the rock salt, sugar and sloe gin, and give it a good mix.
Lay the side of salmon, skin-side down, on a large baking tray and slowly pour over the blackberry cure, using a spoon to spread it evenly over the salmon flesh.
Wrap the salmon in a double layer of greaseproof paper, then wrap it tightly with clingfilm and place it in the fridge overnight. Check on it the next day, spooning any cure that has slipped off back over the salmon, then re-wrap it and place back in the fridge for one more night.
On the third day, take the salmon out of the fridge and carefully unwrap it so you can rinse off the cure.
Use a spoon to gently push the blackberry cure off the fish, then gently rinse off the residual cure with about 100ml of cold water, pouring a splash at a time over your salmon. Put the salmon to one side and rinse the tray under the tap.
For the herb cure, pick and finely chop the dill and tarragon, then mix with the sloe gin in a bowl.
Put the salmon back onto the clean tray, skin-side down, and pack the herby cure onto the fish using your hands. Make sure you cover all the flesh – you don’t want any air getting to it.
Wrap it again with a double layer of greaseproof paper, then a tight layer of clingfilm. Pop the salmon back in the fridge overnight.
The next day your salmon will be perfectly cured and ready to eat. You don’t need to rinse off the second cure – simply slice the salmon as finely as you can on an angle, so you get thin slices of gravlax tinged with pink and topped with herbs.
Delicious served with slices of buttered sourdough, crispy crackers, slices of cucumber, sour cream, and some lemon wedges for squeezing over.