Hederman's smoked salmon with sloe gin and wild pickles on oatmeal bread

Claire McQuillan

This dish is very much inspired by my brilliant friend Erin Bunting of the Edible Flower who has a recipe using gin and beetroot as a quick marinade for smoked salmon. I have given this a seasonal twist using home made sloe gin and adding some additional spice and sweetness to the marinade. Although the marinade is strong it only penetrates the very outside of the fish and gives it the most incredible colour. This makes for a really special addition to a Christmas day menu as you can prep everything a couple of days before and just slice and serve the bread and fish on the day. I have used some of my own pickled elderberries and blackberries in this recipe but you could use any pickles you like – capers, cornichons or finely sliced pickled onions would be a great alternative. I have used Claire Thompson of The 5’ O Clock Apron’s recipe for left over porridge bread but this would be of course perfect with classic brown bread too.


For the bread:

400g strong white bread flour

5g salt

5g yeast

200g cold porridge

250g water

1 tbsp oats

1 fillet piece of Hederman’s Smoked Salmon 500–600g

For the marinade:

6 tablespoons sloe gin

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 juniper berries crushed

1 grated beetroot

To serve:

Pickles of your choice Wild fennel fronds or dill Creme fraiche or strained yogurt for serving


Remove the skin carefully to not damage the flesh. Place in a dish or container with a close fit so that the marinade covers the fillet.

Combine all of the marinade ingredients and allow them to be combined for 20 minutes or so before straining and pouring over the fish – the top of the fish should be covered with the dark liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 5 – 8 hours.


Mix all of the ingredients together with a spoon in a large bowl until combined and there are no dry bits – this is quite a wet and shaggy dough.

Cover with a cloth for an hour or pop into the fridge over night – this could be done alongside the fish.

Uncover and knock the dough back slightly before shaping gently to fit into a 2lb loaf tin that has been lined and greased.

Allow to rise a second time for about a hour (this may take a little longer from the fridge) until the bread is just rises above the edge of the tin.

Bake in a preheated oven at 220C for 10 minutes then turn the oven down to 180 to cook for a further 40 minutes. The loaf should feel hollow when baked through. Allow to cool completely.


Remove the salmon from the liquid and dry off lightly with kitchen paper. Slice straight through the grain as thinly as you can.

Slice the bread and spread with a little crème fraiche or yogurt. Arrange the salmon in shingled layers to show off the colour and sprinkle over the pickles, fennel and a little extra sprinkle of marinade if desired.

This also works really well as a canapé – just slice the bread into squares and arrange the salmon on top. Eat immediately.

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