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Dipping into Heston Blumenthal's book 'Heston at home' I picked up a great tip on curing your own fish, basically if you like it slightly sweet then go half sugar - half salt or more salty 60% salt to 40% sugar. This recipe uses a sweet cure on the salmon which gives incredible texture and enhances the colour, the addition of crème fraiche and soft boiled quails egg along with herbs gives a fresh tasting starter.
300g salmon, skinned and bones removed
300g rock salt
300g granulated sugar
15g Jasmine tea leaves, soaked in four teaspoons of cold water
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
large bunch of dill, chopped finely, plus extra to garnish
250ml olive oil
250ml vegetable oil
1 small baguette, thinly sliced
100ml crème fraiche
small bunch of chives, chopped
4 quails eggs
1. The day before, rub the jasmine tea leaves all over the salmon and in a shallow tin add half the rock salt and sugar, lay the salmon on top and cover with the remaining salt and sugar. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 16 hours, remove from the cling film and rinse off any of the salt and sugar, leave in the fridge covered in cling film for 2-3 hours to firm the salmon up.
2. For the mayonnaise, whisk the egg yolks and white wine vinegar together and slowly add the oil in a steady stream while constantly whisking until the texture turns thick and ribbon trails appear in the bowl. Add the dill and a touch of salt and pepper to taste, keep in the fridge, covered.
3. For the eggs, boil a pan of water and fill another pan or bowl with ice cold water, boil the quails eggs for 2mins 15 seconds and plunge into the cold water immediately. Peel the eggs and place in the warm water for a few seconds prior to serving.
4. Toast the baguettes under the grill until golden brown. To serve, simply slice the salmon wafer thin and place blobs of crème fraiche and the mayonnaise onto a plate, add the quails eggs and baguette slices and garnish with the dill and chives.