Vodka and Beet Cured Salmon – Bridge of Spies

The Film:


The Dish:

IMG_3150The Reason:

James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is not in Scotland fishing for salmon- despite what he told his wife. Instead he is freezing in East Berlin, attempting to do the best by his client (a convicted Russian spy) and his constitution (both literal and physical). This elegant starter makes good use of the fictional salmon he fished for and the vodka his client claims he’ll drink if he makes it back to Russia. The final dish is tainted as red as James’ reputation after taking a long bath in pureed beets and foor garnish there’s a bridge of poppyseeds to traverse – think of them as additional Teutonic grist just in case it all seems too swimmingly smooth. This is a plate  best served as frigidly cold as the war that sits as backdrop.

The Way:

Vodka and Beet Cured Salmon


 Serves 2 as a starter


IMG_3086250 g skinless, pin boned salmon fillet
3 tbsp caster sugar
1/3 cup/85 ml vodka
1 medium beet, cooked (steamed, boiled or baked) and peeled
1 handful of chopped dill

To serve
1 tsp poppyseeds, sour cream and additional dill sprigs for garnish. Rye bread (optional)


1) Twenty four hours prior to serving wash and dry your salmon fillet well and run your finger down the centre to ensure there are no bones left. If there are, use a pair of tweezers to gently excise them.

2) Coat the salmon in the dill and sugar in a snug, shallow bowl.

IMG_30873) Pour over the vodka and cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. Return to the fridge for three hours.

IMG_30884) After three hours blend or grate the beet until you have a rustic paste.

IMG_30925) Cover the salmon in the beet paste, ensuring it coats all sides. Cover the dish again with plastic wrap and return to the fridge. Allow to steep and cure in the fridge for 24-48 hours.

6) To serve, remove the salmon from the beet slurry and wash it off gently and pat dry. Slice on a diagonal and serve with a little of the beet juices and topped with some dabs of sour cream, poppyseeds, dill fronds and a shot of vodka.


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