A technique I’ve been using a lot these days when cooking vegetables is to fry them in a large pan on a low heat with the lid on. This simultaneously coats and caramelises the veg in butter, and with the lid on, traps the moisture to soften and steam at the same time. Treating a whole carrot like this for an hour, overcooks it in the most marvelous way. You get a soft, slightly chewy exterior with a tender putty-like center. Cooking this way is like using a pressure cooker, nothing escapes. All the flavour condenses and seeps back into the carrot. Tasty.
Carrot cooking technique aside, this recipe is all about the gravlax. Home cured, beetroot stained salmon. Raw salmon, salted and sugared to draw all the water out. It’s so simple to cure your own. Add some grated beetroot to the cure and it draws the colour into the flesh as it expels water. 48 hours later, its cured. Sliced thinly against the grain and you have beautiful two-toned delicate slices of fish. It has the texture and mouth-feel of a smoked salmon, but a lighter and more delicate finish.
Wheatberries are the whole unprocessed wheat kernel and when cooked are slightly chewy with a mild nutty flavour. These were tossed in a vibrant green sauce made from kale juice and miso. The savoury whack of the miso balances out the raw verdant green flavour of the raw kale juice.
Prepare the Gravlax. Take a side of salmon and remove the skin. In a bowl, mix together a cup of sugar and a cup of salt. Lay out some cling film and place the salmon onto it. Rub the salt and sugar mix into both sides of the salmon. Finely grate two beetroots over the salmon and some shredded fresh herbs. I used sprigs of fennel and fennel pollen that I had dried myself (air-dried in the kitchen). Grate over the zest of a lemon. Tightly wrap the lemon in cling film and lay the wrapped salmon in a baking dish. I weigh it down with a few tins and leave in the fridge for 48 hours. Drain the excess liquid from the dish daily and turn the fish at least once over the two day curing.
To cook the carrots – scrub them and add them unpeeled to any broad based pan with a lid. Add a tablespoon of butter and few sprigs of fresh thyme. Cook over a low heat with the lid on. Turn every 10 minutes or so. The steam from the lid should keep the environment in the pan moist, but if it looks like drying out too much, then add a little butter. An average sized carrot will take an hour to cook via this method. Use your fingers to test the done-ness – like you would a steak – over the course of an hour you will know by touch when it is perfect.
Wheatberries are simply boiled in water – take 1 cup of wheat and boil in 4 cups of water – takes about 25 to 30 mins. Drain.
Kale juice can be made using a juicer, or via the technique used here. Heat the kale juice in a pan and start to reduce it by a third. Add a large tablespoon of white miso and stir in. This will also help to thicken the sauce. Add the cooked, drained wheatberries to sauce and coat.
Plate the wheatberries and drizzle over a good olive oil. Roll thin slices of the gravlax. Cut the carrot lengthwise. Serve.