Salmon pastrami, mussel, apple and fennel salad

Salmon pastrami, mussel, apple and fennel salad

New Classics
8 generously
Mark Roper

Spices very similar to those used to cure beef pastrami are used in this recipe, hence the name. This is a lovely, light dish. A crisp, sweet and aniseedy salad, flinty mussels and the classic accompaniments to salmon – rye bread and crème fraîche – tie all the flavours together beautifully.


Quantity Ingredient
1.5-2kg salmon fillet, skinned and pin-boned

Cure mix

Quantity Ingredient
100g fine pink lake salt
145g caster sugar
10g black peppercorns, finely ground
10g coriander seeds, toasted and finely ground

Pastrami spice crust

Quantity Ingredient
40g black peppercorns
80g coriander seeds, toasted
80g yellow mustard seeds, toasted

Mussel, apple and fennel salad

Quantity Ingredient
1 bulb fennel, removed but reserved
1 small brown onion, roughly chopped
300ml white wine
1kg fresh mussels in the shell, rinsed well in cold water
1 tablespoon very good cider or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 green apple
1 shallot, very finely diced
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh bread, roughly torn
light olive oil
150g see method for ingredients


  1. For the cure mix, combine all the ingredients. On a tray appropriate to the size of the fish, spread over half the cure mix evenly, place the salmon on top and then cover the fish with the remaining cure mix. Cover with plastic wrap and place a tray on top to weight it down slightly. This will ensure the spices infuse well into the fish. Place in the refrigerator and leave to cure for 12 hours, then turn the fillet over on the tray and leave for another 12 hours. After 24 hours, scrape off the cure mix with the back of a knife and pat dry with paper towel.
  2. Square up the salmon fillet so the fish is an even thickness.
  3. For the pastrami spice crust, mix together the ingredients and grind coarsely in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle. Remove any lumps.
  4. Press the spice crust into the cured salmon fillet, and wrap in plastic wrap until ready to slice.
  5. To make the mussel, apple and fennel salad, chop the fennel stalks. Put them in a medium heavy-based saucepan with the onion over medium heat and sweat until translucent. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Add the mussels then cover the pan with a lid. Cook over high heat, shaking the pan, until the mussels start to open. As the first ones open take them out with tongs, so they don’t overcook. When all the mussels in the pan are open pour the rest into a colander set over a bowl. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Mix the mussels with the cider and extra-virgin olive oil. Shave in the fennel bulb using a mandoline or a very sharp knife. Cut the apple into fine strips and add this to the salad along with the shallot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Toss the bread chunks with enough light olive oil to coat and sauté in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat until golden and crisp.
  7. To serve

    Cut the salmon pastrami into thin slices, about 2 mm thick (enough for 3–4 slices per person). Arrange the mussel salad across each plate and scatter on the croutons. Dip a teaspoon into very hot water and scoop a small quenelle of crème fraîche onto each plate.
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