The first time I ever tasted and made beet cured salmon was in Stockholm, Sweden.
I worked as a Commis de Cuisine in the Hotel Reisen in Gamla Stan, not very far from the Royal Palace.
Stockholm was the place to be, young chefs from all over, Germans, Swiss, Brits, Italians, all working in first-class hotels and restaurants.
The Hotel Reisen and restaurant were known for their high quality “Husmanskost” like gravadlax, Jansson’s temptation, etc. and of course we served the famous Köttbullars, Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam. I remember the pickled herring, served with bread, garnished with red onions and chives; the perfect excuse for plenty of shots of aquavit.
Pittypanna, you have to agree only the name “Pittypanna” makes you want to order a serving, Pittypanna was one of my favorites for breakfast. It’s a simple potato hash with smoked sausage, topped with fried eggs and accompanied by pickled beets.
Stockholm had awesome restaurants, I remember the Operakällaren, serving brilliant Michelin star food. The restaurant first opened up in the autumn of 1787 in the brand new opera house and many find their main dining room to be one of Swedens most beautiful dining rooms.
I love medieval towns, they make you feel like you took a step back in time and Gamla Stan tells a story from long ago. I have fond memories of Stockholms Old Town, its quaint alleyways and cobblestone streets are part of its charm.
If you only have enough time in Stockholm to visit one place, I highly recommend a visit to Gamla Stan.
As young chefs, for us, that was the way to live; travel and cook in as many countries as possible. We were all up for an adventure, we all wanted to learn to cook different cuisines, techniques and work with the best chefs possible, learn new languages and experience different cultures.
Beet cured salmon is an inherently simple preparation and the little work it takes to make beet cured salmon pays off big in both flavor and presentation. The salt and sugar cure is simple; one part kosher salt and half the amount of granulated sugar. I prefer this ratio, it creates a perfect saltiness, rounded out with a little sweetness.
I add cracked corriander seeds, peppercorn, fresh dill and lemon zest to my salt, sugar blend.
The grated horseradish and beets add another flavor profile and the beets add that wonderful color. Cured for 3 days, the salmon will keep in the refrigerator for about one week.
One thing to keep in mind, cured salmon will go bad. Just because it’s cured does not mean it will keep forever. The length of time a cured salmon will stay fresh depends very much on the quality of salmon you purchase. In other words, purchase the freshest filet of salmon you can find.
Making the crème fraîche is as easy as curing the salmon. Combine heavy cream and buttermilk, let sit at room temperature for 24 hours and the invisible little creatures (Bacteria) will do their work.
Use pasteurized heavy cream, not ultra-pasteurized heavy cream, and use cultured buttermilk. Otherwise, it will take forever to make the crème fraîche. Cooking the perfect soft boiled egg is as simple as it gets, just use the perfect soft boiled egg recipe and you are good to go.
The beet cured salmon, with the perfect soft boiled egg & crème fraîche, is a very satisfying meal for breakfast, Sunday brunch or even a light lunch.
Enjoy and remember, cured salmon is the perfect excuse for plenty of shots of aquavit straight from the freezer.