Bourbon and coriander seed gravadlax


The classic gravadlax cure of salt, sugar and dill is given extra depth of flavour with bourbon, coriander seeds and orange zest.

Cure salmon for 2-3 days with bourbon, orange zest, coriander seeds and dill to give delicious, silky slices of salmon that are really versatile whether on rye for lunch, as a canapé or starter, or with scrambled eggs. An easy-to-make alternative to smoked salmon. 

Serves 10-12 as a starter; 6 for lunch

1.2kg very fresh salmon fillet

50ml bourbon

1 tbsp mixed peppercorns

1 tbsp coriander seeds

70g course sea salt

70g unrefined caster sugar

40g dill, roughly chopped

an orange

four tins of food for weights


Running your hand over the salmon to check for bones and use tweezers to remove any. Trim off any very thin ends on the fish - they will overcure and be inedible. Cut the salmon in half and sit the pieces side-by-side skin side down in a large piece of foil.


Pour the bourbon over the salmon, rubbing it in gently. Crush the peppercorns and coriander seeds; mix them in a large bowl with the salt, sugar and dill. Cut 6 broad strips of peel off the orange, taking as little white pith as possible. Put three strips on each piece of salmon, giving the peel a squeeze to get its oils going. Smear the cure mixture of salt etc all over one piece of the salmon. Lift up the other piece and sit it on top of the cure, skin-side up. The cure is effectively sandwiched between the two flesh sides of the fish. Make sure any exposed bits of salmon get some cure over them. 


Wrap tightly in the foil and sit in a baking dish with a chopping board on top and the tin cans on top of that to weigh it down. Put in the fridge for 2-3 days (at the lower end of the time if it’s a thin tail piece). Turn the parcel over occasionally to ensure even distribution of the cure. 


Unwrap the parcel and scrape off the salt etc. Slice and serve in any way that you would smoked salmon. It is especially good on bread that has been spread with a little mustard or with some tarragon mayonnaise dollopped on top. 


Unsliced and wrapped in cling film the cured salmon will keep for a week in the fridge. It also freezes well. 

(This recipe originally featured for Borough Market.)

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