Beetroot fritters with whisky-cured salmon and dill dressing 28.01.2014

I’m reading Nigel Slater’s very lovely Notes from the Larder – a year-long kitchen diary in which he describes what he buys and grows and cooks over the course of a year.

Cooking seasonally in the American north-east at this time of year is basically a festival of root vegetables – beets, potatoes, celeriac, sweet potato, butternut squash – and the book has been excellent source of inspiration. Thanks, Nige.

For Saturday night’s Burns dinner at Peter’s, I had made oatcakes with whisky-cured salmon, of which there was a small wedge left over, so for dinner last night I subbed it in for the gravlax in Slater’s recipe for beetroot fritters. BANG. ON.


For the salmon:

  • A large – maybe 20cm long – fillet of good salmon, skin off
  • 150 gms caster sugar
  • 150 gms sea salt
  • 75-100ml Scotch whisky (I used un-peated 10yr Bruichladdich because cheaps)

For the beetroot fritters

  • Two medium-sized beets, scrubbed and grated or very finely julienned – drain for a if it’s releasing lots of moisture
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • Oil for frying

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp finely-chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp seeded mustard
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 5 tbsp canola oil
  • S & P to taste


The salmon should be started the night before. Mix the sugar and salt together with enough of the whisky to form a paste (it shouldn’t be too loose or it’ll leak everywhere). Drink remaining whisky. Roll out some long strips of cling film and lay the salmon on it, then top the salmon with the salt paste, patting it down with your hands. Bundle the whole thing up tightly and put in a shallow dish in the fridge, weighed down by a few cans. Leave for at least 12 hours (and up to a couple of days), turning every so often. It will probably leak a bit; that’s okay.

Then, the dressing: whisk the ingredients together, taste for seasoning, and set aside. EASY.

Slice the salmon very finely on an angle (sharp knife needed).

Finally, the fritters, which are also easy: mix the beetroot and onion together, season with salt and pepper, and then mix in the flour and egg.

Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and drop large spoonfuls – you’ll get about six out of the mixture – into the pan, flattening with the back of a spatula. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side and then rest on kitchen towel to absorb some of the excess oil.

Divide fritters onto plates (2-3 people), top with some salmon, and spoon some of the dill sauce over the top. Some green salad leaves go nicely on the side.

Very, very nice and very easy. And pretty!

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