Orange cured salmon, dill pickled cucumbers, compressed beetroot, radish, orange caviar, horseradish cream, dill foam, blood orange air.
I need to talk about plating today. I really dug myself a hole with this one. Don’t get me wrong, I adore artfully plated food. If there’s one way in which I love wasting my time it’s by browsing this Instagram account.
There is so much food beauty right there it’s almost unbelievable. But there is such a thing as OCD and sadly I belong to the very awful end of the spectrum. Perfectionism. That’s what my middle name should have been. Now try pairing perfectionism with plating and you’ve got yourself a nice little disaster.
Today went something like this: Pipe horseradish cream on a plate, take it back off, wash the plate, wipe it with vodka and start over. Times you don’t want to know. Arrange orange caviar with tweezers. Freak out about the beetroot maybe bleeding into the horseradish cream.
Cut too many tiny edges off the salmon (because it just. won’t. be. straight.). Lay on the kitchen floor because the finishing dill foam flowed into the blood orange air. Recycle.
But really, the plating was the hardest part. Because the rest of this dish? Pure fun. There’s the salmon which is so unbelievably cool to cure at home. Come on, wouldn’t it feel fantastic to tell your arch enemy you’re curing your own salmon? Oh the envy it could evoke.
Then there’s the cucumbers which turn into pickles in a mere 90 minutes. Magic, huh?!
And cream, foam, air. Right, cream and foam?
Eh, we’ve all seen that stuff before. But air? I really don’t want to spoil it for you but I was so surprised when I tasted it. It’s so much denser and sturdier than you would expect it to be but still delicate at the same time. There’s almost a slight fizz to it and the tartness of the blood oranges is so much more prominent. All with the help of a little soy lecithin and xanthan gum. Who would have thought?
And my favorite part of the whole thing: The orange caviar. So simple but so stunning. There’s only two specialty items you need for this and I promise they are available in every supermarket: Agar powder and a piping device. I don’t need much to brighten my Saturday.
Now please excuse me while I go find an arch enemy to rub his nose into this salmon. Figuratively.
For the Cured Salmon
- 37.5 g salt
- 25 g sugar
- 7.5 g grappa
- 5 g orange zest, finely grated
- 1.25 g black pepper, finely ground
- 2.5 g horseradish, finely grated
- 250 g salmon fillet, trimmed and skin removed
For the Horseradish Cream
- 40 g horseradish, finely grated
- 175 g cream
- 1.6 g salt
- 0.15 g xanthan gum
For the Dill Foam
- 250 g water
- 2 g salt
- 50 g dill
- 3.8 g powdered gelatin stirred into 30g cold water
For the Dill Pickles
- 100 g water
- 100 g vinegar
- 25 g sugar
- 7.6 g dill
- 5 g salt
- 0.3 g black peppercorns
- 120 g cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise with a mandolin or vegetable peeler
For the Compressed Beetroot
- 150 g beetroot, peeled and cut into 6mm (1/4in) thick slices, then cut into four circles (about 2.5cm (1 inch) in diameter) and four rectangles (about 1 inch x 3/4 inch).
- 7 g olive oil
- 3 g balsamico bianco
For the Orange Caviar
- 200 ml oil, chilled in the freezer for 40 minutes
- 82.5 g orange juice
- 1 g agar powder
- 2.5 g grappa
For the Blood Orange Air
- 100 g blood orange juice
- 11.1 g lemon juice
- 4.4 g sugar
- 1.1 g salt
- 1.1 g soy lecithin
- 0.2 g xanthan gum
- 60 g radishes, very thinly sliced, about 4 large
- Fresh dill
- 4 blood orange fillets
To Make the Cured Salmon
- Mix all cure ingredients and rub the salmon fillet well all over. Vacuum seal (or wrap very tightly in cling foil) and rest in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Remove from the bag and rinse. Use immediately or vacuum seal in a clean bag. This keeps in the fridge for 1-2 days.
To Make the Horseradish Cream
- Mix the horseradish with the cream and refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours (the longer it sits, the stronger and hotter it will taste).
- Strain and discard the horseradish. Add the salt and xanthan gum and whip until soft peaks form. Use immediately or keep in the fridge for a few hours.
To Make the Dill Foam
- Bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and the dill and cook for 5 minutes. Blend using an immersion blender and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Warm to 60°C (140°F) and stir in the gelatin. Keep at this temperature for 5 minutes while stirring often.
- Pour into a whipping siphon and charge with 2 cartridges nitrous oxide. Chill for 2 hours before dispensing.
To Make the Dill Pickles
- Mix all brine ingredients well in a small bowl. Add the cucumber and cover. Let stand for 90 minutes, then drain. Can be kept refrigerated in the brine for a day.
To Make the Compressed Beetroot.
- Put the beetroot slices in one layer into a vacuum bag. Pour the olive oil and vinegar into the bag and vacuum seal. Refrigerate until using.
To Make the Orange Caviar
- Pour the chilled oil into a high, narrow jar.
- Add the orange juice to a small saucepan and sprinkle the agar powder on top while whisking vigorously. Bring to a boil and cook until the agar has dissolved completely, about 30 seconds.
- Cool for 2 minutes. Using a pipette, drop the agar liquid into the cold oil. Once the droplets reach the bottom of the glass, they will form solid balls. If the droplets don't sink, try adding several on top of each other (as shown here). If the agar liquid gellifies in the pan, quickly reheat while stirring.
- Drain the caviar and rinse under warm water. Keeps covered in the fridge for several hours.
To Make the Blood Orange Air
- Blend the blood orange juice, lemon juice, sugar and salt well. Sprinkle the soy lecithin and xanthan gum on top and blend with an immersion blender until frothy.
- Apply a layer of horseradish cream to the plate. Top with cured salmon pieces, rolled up cucumber and beetroot. Garnish with radish slices and dill. Add the orange caviar, the blood orange air and dill foam. Arrange the blood orange slice and serve immediately.
Plating inspired by Daniel Humm.