As you know I made Gravlax for part of my Father’s Day brunch menu. I love to make it serve it and eat it. It is less salty then any commercial version. I will be entertaining next week and decided to make some this week as it takes a few days to cure. The salmon in the market was so beautiful it inspired me. Be sure to buy it somewhere that has fresh fillets with the skin on.
First I went to my best fish market to purchase the most luscious thick, white marbled side of salmon I could find. I did not want to include Aquavit or Vodka in my salmon marinade. Limes cooking the flesh of the salmon if they touched was scary to me, so I opted for basic. Next I made sure to have fresh dill and Sea Salt on hand.
Serves 8 to 14
One 3.5 lb to 4 lb Norwegian Salmon Filet with skin on
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns
3/ 4 cup granulated sugar
1/ 4 cup Sea Salt
1 tablespoon ground caraway seeds
1 large bunch of fresh dill, washed and dried
Unwrap salmon from market and cut salmon filet in two equally long pieces. Wipe pieces clean with a damp paper towel and feel surface of fish with your index finger for any bones that may have been left behind. Remove any bone with a fish tweezers taking care not to damage the flesh.
Place peppercorns in a spice grinder and grind. Mix sugar, salt, caraway, and ground pepper in a small bowl. Set out a large piece of plastic wrap on work surface. Place salmon filet in middle of plastic, skin side down. Spread salt sugar mixture over salmon filet. Remove dill fronds from the thickest stems. Spread fronds thickly over salt rubbed fish. Place narrower filet over wider filet and sandwich together, skin side out. Tightly wrap plastic wrap around to seal fish. Wrap with another piece of plastic wrap to make sure it is secure.
Place plastic wrapped salmon in a large baking dish and place in refrigerator. Every twelve hours turn wrapped salmon over. I like to mop up any juices that have leaked out into the baking dish, with paper towel and toss towels. Do this for 3 to 4 days. At the end of four days open salmon flesh side up and remove marinade by wiping off salt sugar mix and dill. At this point it is ready to slice and serve or you can re-wrap and it will keep for another week in the refrigerator. Alternatively Gravlax may be carefully wrapped and frozen.
To slice Gravlax, place one piece of filet on a cutting board. With a very sharp santoku or chef’s knife, slice thin sheets of salmon on an angle away from your body down to fish skin and then off. Many people say it is easier to work with a partially frozen filet when slicing Gravlax for thinner results. Thin, is what you are looking for.
Eat sliced Gravlax out of hand, on a toasted bagel, on a square of dark pumpernickel bread, rye bread, crackers or in scrambled eggs. Roll thin slices into rose shapes to decorate plates, rolled slices maybe filled with cream cheese, garnished with scallions… You can also use Gravlax in your own sushi. Roll Gravlax around steamed asparagus for a springtime fish dish to eat on Passover, the possibilities are endless.