All at sea

PETER BINGHAM
Last updated 08:05 12/02/2013

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Egmont Seafoods' Pete Bennett decided to splash out recently by painting a salmon fillet purple. Why you would do this with a superior fish is a mystery, but Pete is an adventurous man with an appetite for surprises.

He cured the salmon with grated beetroot and vodka two days before he planned to eat it. On Sunday it was unveiled.

"The meal was a wee bit rushed as I went out for a bike ride this morning at 7.15am and met up with a cycling group. However, I had to be home at 9.30am as a friend was coming around for breakfast before he flew back out to Australia."

Pete whipped up his famous scrambled eggs on toast along with bacon, tomatoes and the beetroot-cured salmon. "It was as good as it looked. However, I would not make it an everyday deal as the curing process is quite timely . . . and how much vodka can one drink."

The fennel taste was lost among the other flavours, so Pete reckons those who like its mild anise flavour may want to increase the quantity.

All in all, he was pretty pleased with the result. "It would definitely go with any dish or condiment for a host of side dishes."

Sliced thinly, it could be served in an antipasto platter, as part of a salad with rocket and herbs, or with the scrambled eggs for brunch.

BEETROOT & VODKA CURED SALMON FILLET

500g piece salmon tail with skin on (a good piece with minimal bones)

1 raw beetroot grated

2 Tbsp (30g) sea salt flakes

2 Tbsp white sugar

Zest of 1 lime

2 Tbsp fresh fennel leaves or dill, finely chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp vodka - flavoured 42 below is good

In a bowl mix together the grated beetroot, salt, sugar, lime zest, fennel, vanilla & vodka.

Lie the fillet skin side down on a large piece of vinyl wrap and place into a container just slightly larger than the fillet size. A snug fit is what you are after.

Place the curing mixture on top of the fillet, making sure it is totally covered. Wrap the excess vinyl wrap tightly over the salmon to seal. Place a heavy object over the fillet to weigh down - I used a small chopping board with a bottle of wine on top of the board.

Leave for 24-48 hours - the longer you leave the more ruby shade of colour it will be.

When ready to use, unwrap the salmon and remove the curing mixture, pat dry the fillets with a paper towel and slice thinly as it will be quite rich.

Hints:

Make sure you wear an apron when grating the beet - it will give your shirt a "tie-dye" look without one.

You can continue by tasting the balance of the vodka while waiting for the curing process - don't forget you have more than 24 hours to complete the tasting!

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- Taranaki Daily News

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