Recipe: Make Galton Blackiston's cured blackened salmon

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 December 2017

Galton Blackiston's cured blackened salmon. Picture: John Scott Blackwell

Galton Blackiston's cured blackened salmon. Picture: John Scott Blackwell

John Scott Blackwell

Make Galton Blackiston's favourite cured salmon for Christmas this year.

This Christmas I think everyone should have a go at making my blackened salmon, which is a play on gravadlax.

Over Christmas all the markets close meaning there’s no wet fish available, so curing fish in this way is great as it gives you a starter for Christmas Day and it will last a while depending on how many people you have over.

I marinate it in treacle, sugar, salt and orange, cure it for two days and wash the cure off, then it can be sliced as and when and I’d say it could last for up to a week in the fridge.

This salmon plays a big part in the Morston menus in the lead up to Christmas – we do a lot of smoked fish and I buy my salmon from a guy I use in Holt called John the Fish. He gets it from Wester Ross up in Scotland and it’s very good quality.

Generally I serve this with pickled cucumber, which goes really well. Or crème fraiche and dill. Just keep it simple.

I’m getting very excited about Christmas Day now. We’ll be at home and always have a Norfolk Black turkey. There are several great places to buy them from but I’ve used Godwick turkeys from my neck of the woods for years, served with the traditional accompaniments.

I smother the turkey in butter, massage it all over and season it really well. Inside the cavity, if you’re going to make bread sauce, add a whole onion studded with cloves. I also put in carrot, a bit of orange and celery, and I put stuffing in the neck of the bird. I roast it breast side down, completely covered in foil, for an hour at 170C, then turn it over and roast it for another hour. Then I take the foil down to just cover the wings and turn the oven up to 200C for ¾ hour to colour it up. These timings will work for a 6lb turkey.

You can watch me cooking turkey today with James Martin on ITV (from 9.30am). I’m quite surprised how well it turned out actually, and there’s the usual frolicking around between the pair of us so it’s a good watch.

On the day one of us broke a Guinness World Record. We were given the challenge of being the quickest to ice and decorate a chocolate yule log. So the Guinness guys showed up in their official jackets and we had the sponge there all ready and had to cream it, chocolate ganache it and cover it with icing sugar and holly, making sure there were four concentric circles on each end. The previous record was two minutes. It was an interesting experience, but you’ll have to watch it to see how we got on!

Cured blackened salmon with pickled cucumber

(serves four)


for the salmon:

120g sea salt

90g soft dark brown sugar

1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed

1 tbsp white peppercorns, crushed

6 tbsp chopped fresh dill

juice and rind of 1 orange

900g side of fresh salmon, pin bones removed, skin descaled and left on

60g black treacle

4 star anise

for the pickled cucumber:

250g cider vinegar

250g caster sugar

1 large red chilli, finely sliced

2 bay leaves

1 sprig tarragon

1 sprig thyme

1 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp white peppercorns

2 cucumbers


To cure the salmon combine the salt, sugar, coriander seeds, peppercorns, dill, orange juice and rind together in a bowl and then spread half of this mixture on a baking tray. Place the salmon on top, skin side down, cover with the remaining mixture, pour over the treacle and add the star anise. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove from the fridge, turn the fish over, and spoon over the liquid which will be in the baking tray. Cover and return to the fridge to marinate for a further 24 hours.

After 48 hours the fish will be cured and should be carefully washed and patted dry. Once cured the salmon will keep for up to one week in the fridge wrapped tightly in cling film.

To make the pickled cucumber, place the vinegar and sugar into a saucepan and over a low heat allow the sugar to dissolve. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, add the chilli, herbs, coriander seeds and white peppercorns, remove from the heat and leave to cool and infuse.

Peel the cucumber into thin strips and place into the cooled pickling liquor for at least one hour. When ready to serve, lift the cucumber out of the pickling liquor with a slotted spoon.

Serve wafer thin slices of salmon with the pickled cucumber and thinly sliced buttered brown bread.

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