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Recipe: Beetroot & Aberfeldy 12 Cured Salmon

Recipe: Beetroot & Aberfeldy 12 Cured Salmon

Historically curing has been used as a way of preserving fish. In Scandinavia. Fishermen used to bury their fish in salt to preserve it for longer. Preserving prolongs the shelf life of food and changes the texture but is also a great, simple and healthy way to serve and enjoy fish, particularly the wonderful salmon which is available in the UK.

Salmon is an incredibly healthy fish to eat, rich in omega 3 contributing to healthy brain function, heart and general well being. It’s also a valuable source of protein. Always make sure you are buying salmon from a sustainable source, more information at

This recipe works equally well with trout. The curing time is a guide and a lot of it is down to personal preference. The fish should be firm to touch and the longer you leave it, the stronger the flavour will be. For this cure, I think 36 hours is ideal.

We serve this salmon on our signature sharing boards at Ballintaggart Farm, on our small plates at The Grandtully hotel and as a canape at weddings and events. It’s worth curing a whole side of salmon, keeping it in the fridge for a week or the freezer for up to three months. You can slice it from frozen as a very simple starter and serve it with salad and a simple lemon dressing.

The beetroot and Aberfeldy 12, our local whisky, gives the salmon a wonderful earthy flavour but you can experiment with other flavour combinations, using the same basic ratio / quantities.

• 4 whole cooked beetroot
• 2 tbsp treacle
• 100g table salt
• 100g caster sugar
• 50ml Aberfeldy 12
• ½ side of salmon, skinless and
boneless • Rapeseed oil
• Salt and pepper for roasting beetroot.

1. Pre heat oven to 200c and roast the beetroot with a little rapeseed oil and salt for forty minutes, or until soft.
2. Carefully remove the skin from the salmon and any bones. You can ask your fishmonger to do this for you.
3. Blend all ingredients (except salmon!) in a food processor.
4. Rub the ingredients over salmon, wrap in clingfilm, cure for 36 hours.
5. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water, Make sure all the cure mix is removed and pat the fish dry before wrapping in clingfilm. The salmon should have taken on a wonderful beetroot colour.
6. Freeze or keep refrigerated.
7. Slice thinly to serve as a starter or lunch with salad leaves.

Chris Rowley, chef and owner at Ballintaggart.

Chris began with a career in stocks and shares at Lloyds Banking Group and switched to a career in stocks and sauces. The career change was sparked by the sell-out success and creation of Edinburgh’s first supper club Charlie and Evelyn’s Table (established 2009).

In 2015, he moved to London and started the Leiths School of Food and Wine Diploma. He graduated as Best Student in 2016 and from then worked freelance as a private chef and food stylist for Waitrose alongside gaining restaurant experience with Rick Stein and Nathan Outlaw before he and his family moved to a really special spot in Highland Perthshire Scotland, Ballintaggart Farm in 2016.

Ballintaggart comprises Ballintaggart Farm, a Good Food Guide 2019 listed restaurant with rooms, one of The Sunday Times Top 100 Places to Stay; The Cook School by Ballintaggart, our Cook School with a view; The Grandtully Hotel by Ballintaggart (opened September 2018 in partnership with Chris’s brother Andrew) a characterful eight bedroom hotel, restaurant and vibrant bar listed as one of The Guardian’s Top 50 Hotels in Britain and The Feasts by Ballintaggart, bespoke external catering and events. See

Chris’s food showcases Scotland’s outstanding natural larder, with menus changing frequently to reflect the seasons, the best artisan producers and suppliers and elements grown in the Ballintaggart Farm Kitchen Garden or foraged from the surrounding fields, hedgerows and woodlands.

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