How to cure with gin

So when we say "you can cure with gin" we're not actually suggesting it can heal your ailments (although we wouldn't be surprised....). No, we're actually talking about the ancient method of preserving fish or meat using sugar and/or salt. It's also a way to impart incredible flavour into your food - not least when you're using gin and gin botanicals, as in this brilliant gin and coriander gravlax recipe.

A delicious, luxurious but simple creation, gravlax is Nordic dish of cured salmon. It tastes sort of like a cross between sashimi and smoked salmon – and in this recipe, with added gin and spices! The recipe is great for a party, or make a batch – it will last about a week in the fridge and can also be frozen.

Gin and Coriander Salmon Gravlax

Ingredients (12 servings)

  • x 1kg pieces salmon cut from the centre of the fish – or the equivalent amount of salmon fillets – with skin on and pin-bones removed
  • 400g coarse sea salt
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp dill seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 100ml gin
  • 150g fresh dill, roughly chopped


1.    Mix the salt and sugars together in a large bowl to combine them well.
2.    Grind the black pepper with the dill and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar until it’s a powder. Sprinkle this over the salt mixture, then stir in the chopped dill, lime zest and gin until it’s all well combined.
3.    Place one fillet of salmon (or half your smaller fillets if using) skin-side down on a large piece of aluminium foil and place one fillet of salmon.
4.    Cover the salmon fillet/s with all of the salt mixture, then place the remaining salmon fillet/s, skin-side up, on top of it to make a sort of sandwich. Wrap the fillets tightly in the foil, then pierce a few holes in it using a cocktail stick (this allows excess liquid to drain from the fish).
5.    Put the fish parcel onto a baking tray and place another baking tray on top of it. Weigh the top baking tray down with something heavy – a couple of house bricks or weights from a set of kitchen scales for example. Chill this package in the fridge for 2-3 days, turning the packet of fish every 6-8 hours where possible.
6.    When ready to serve, unwrap the salmon and scrape off any excess salt mixture. Slice the fillets very thinly on the diagonal using a sharp knife. Serve with a wedge of lemon, rye bread and a simple green salad.

Adapted from a BBC Food recipe

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