Salmon gravlax

Salmon gravlax

By
From
Margaret Fulton Favourites
Serves
10
Photographer
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

Gravlax is raw salmon, usually cured in a mixture of salt, sugar and alcohol. I use vodka, but other approaches call for more powerful spirits such as cognac or bourbon. This treatment, Scandinavian in origin, resembles the curing or smoking methods of preparing fish in Britain or Eastern Europe — though there is no smoke used here. It can be made using a whole fish, but at home you’re probably better off with just two substantial fillets. It is usually sliced very thinly on the bias (a sharp slicing knife is essential) to reveal as much of the surface of the flesh as possible. While this is a very simple recipe, the curing takes three days, so plan ahead.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 whole salmon, weighing at least 2 kg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
1 medium bunch dill
3 tablespoons vodka
1 lemon, grated rind

Method

  1. Remove the fillet from each side of the salmon, or ask your fishmonger to do this for you, leaving the skin intact. Discard head and bones. Pat the salmon with damp paper towels. Remove any protruding pin bones (the bones that stick out of the middle of the fillet) with tweezers. Combine the sugar, salt and pepper and rub on both sides of the fillets.
  2. You will need a ceramic dish wide enough for the fillets to lie flat in. Place about a third of the dill into the dish. Sprinkle the dill with 1 tablespoon vodka. Place one fillet, skin-side down, into the dish. Cover the fillet with a third of the dill, a tablespoon of vodka and half the lemon rind. Top with the second fillet, skin-side up. Match up the pieces so the thicker end of the top piece sits over the thinner end of the bottom one, making the neatest possible package.
  3. Place the remaining dill on top of the fish along with the remaining tablespoon of vodka. Cover the fish completely in plastic wrap, very tightly. Weigh it down (without crushing it) with a heavy dish. Place the ceramic dish in the fridge and leave it for 3 days, turning the fish once daily.
  4. To serve the gravlax, scrape away the seasonings and pat fish dry with a paper towel. Slice the flesh on the bias as thinly as possible without tearing it. Using the skin as your guide, slide the knife as close to it as possible (there should be no skin adhering to the slice).
  5. Use long sawing strokes to make the slices. It’s best if you can almost see through the fish. You will notice some dark meat against the rosy flesh; neatly cut it away because it is often too strong and fishy in flavour.
  6. The salmon can be kept for 2–5 days in the fridge. Serve in thin slices as you would smoked salmon. Accompany with rye, black or other good bread and with sour cream and grated horseradish or dill sauce.
Tags:
Margaret
Fulton
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