Steven Brown uses beets to bring earthy flavor and bright, bold color to cured salmon, which he serves on sourdough toasts with fromage blanc, hard-cooked egg, radish slices, and a few drops of tangerine-infused oil. Feel free to sub store-bought smoked salmon that's thinly sliced. You can also go low-carb and serve the salmon on long cucumber slices.
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1 black peppercorn
1 juniper berry
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
7 ounces red beets, peeled and grated
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 (1-lb.) king salmon fillet, skin on and pin bones removed
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add dill seeds, peppercorn, and juniper berry. Toast spices 30 seconds or until fragrant. Crush using a mortar and pestle or on a clean work surface using the back of a sauté pan.
Place rind, beets, vermouth, and crushed spices in a blender; blend until a smooth paste forms (thin with 1 to 2 tablespoons water if needed to adjust consistency). Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; stir in salt and sugar. Let mixture stand 10 minutes.
Line a jelly-roll pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough wrap overhanging sides to wrap around salmon. Place salmon on pan; spread beet mixture over salmon. Top with herbs and horseradish, if desired. Tightly wrap overhanging plastic wrap around salmon. Place a baking sheet on top of salmon, and gently weight with several 14-ounce cans (like beans or tomatoes) or 2 unopened cartons of milk, evenly distributing weight over fish. Place in refrigerator, and cure for 24 hours; remove from refrigerator, and drain any beet juice from pan. Readjust weights, return to refrigerator, and cure for another 24 hours. Unwrap salmon, rinse with water, and pat dry. Slice very thinly using a sharp knife.