LENT still feels to me like the one time of year when people observe Friday abstinence, and fish pie is a seasonal staple. Each Good Friday, I try to find something new to do with fish, and have been experimenting with curing salmon. This recipe for Home-cured Salmon uses beetroot, but rhubarb would work, too.
1kg (2 lb) salmon tail fillet
250g (9 oz) fresh beetroot
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon horseradish sauce
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
100g (4 oz) flaked sea salt
Cook the beetroot in boiling water until tender. Cool, peel, and place into a blender. Add the lemon zest, horseradish, coriander, peppercorns, sugar, and salt. Whizz everything together until well combined. Rinse the salmon tail and lay it out flat on a board. Cover the whole of the flesh side with the curing mixture.
Tear off three sheets of clingfilm equal to the length of the salmon and twice its width. Place the fish on to the first sheet and wrap up carefully and tightly. Do the same with the other two sheets. Wrap in more if required to ensure it is fully sealed. Place the salmon in between two boards and put this in the fridge with weights on top to press it down. It needs to rest in the fridge for two days.
When it is ready to serve, gently wipe off the curing sauce and try to slice diagonally down like smoked salmon. Team with new potatoes and salad for a substantial meal.
There’s something rewarding about finding what fruit is in season and producing this Vienna Cake.
600g (1 lb 5 oz) seasonal fruit: apples, plums, pears, rhubarb
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon and 125g (5 oz) demerara sugar
200g (8 oz) unsalted butter
80g (3 oz) crème fraîche
grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon each ground ginger and cinnamon
420g (9 oz) self-raising flour
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cherry jam or similar
Preheat the oven to 160° (fan)/350° F/Gas 4. Wash, peel, and core the fruit as required, and chop into chunks. Set aside in a bowl and sprinkle with the tablespoon each of cornflour and sugar.
Using a food mixer or electric whisk, combine the sugar and butter, then add the egg, and follow with the remaining ingredients (except the jam). Once it is nicely formed into a ball, tear off a 200g (4oz) piece to wrap in clingfilm and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Now press the dough mixture into a 23cm (10-inch) cake tin, spread the jam over and arrange the fruit pieces on top. Remove the hardened dough from the freezer and grate coarsely over the fruit. Bake for 50 minutes, turn it around halfway through, and cool before serving.