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Sunday, January 9, 2011

cured salmon with star anise and white burgundy

For a special occasion, cured salmon makes an elegant first course. Delicately perfumed with star anise and flavoured with dry white wine and a touch of sweetness this dish is delicious and very simple to prepare. Give yourself a two day head start otherwise it’s plain sailing!


2 x400g-1kg fillets of salmon, skin on
(Do not remove pin bones from the fish until it is ready to slice – this keeps the fillets tightly intact and gives a better slicing result)
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives or a few chervil sprigs, to garnish

For the court bouillon:

500ml dry white: Burgundy, Chardonnay or Chablis
500ml water
20g sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
2 level teaspoons sugar
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 3mm slices
1 small leek, white part only, cut into 3mm slices
1 fresh bay leaf
1 clove garlic, skin left on and mashed
1 clove
2 star anise, smashed into pieces with a pestle and mortar

Sherry Vinaigrette

100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons walnut oil
2-3 teaspoons aged sherry vinegar
Salt and ground white pepper

Serves: 8-10


Place all the court-bouillon ingredients into a 3-litre non-aluminium saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, skim froth and simmer for 20 minutes on a low heat. Allow to cool completely to room temperature.

Select a non-aluminium pan dish deep enough so the salmon lies flat and submerged by the liquid – it should be a snug fit. Sterilize the dish with boiling water then allow the dish to cool completely before placing the salmon into it – skin side down first but turn once a day after sealing well with cling film and refrigerate for 48 hours.

Make up the sherry vinaigrette by whisking together the ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the fish and discard the court-bouillon. Remove the pin bones and thinly slice the salmon, beginning at the tail/or narrowest end, with the knife at a 30c angle. Arrange the slices on a serving platter and moisten with the vinaigrette. Garnish with chopped chives or/and chervil and serve with lightly toasted unbuttered bread cut into triangles.


Reduce the fish by half for less serves but use the same liquid measurements. Reduce the proportions in the vinaigrette too in this case but use only a tiny amount in any event as it is there to simply moisten the fish not to change its delicate flavour.

This recipe is from the region of Burgundy in France – the above is adapted from Damien Pignolet’s fabulous book: French.

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