gravlax! . . .
This past weekend, we drove to NYC for a family gathering, replete with a Carnegie Hall concert with box seats and an invitation to a family brunch. Instead of smoked salmon, I offered to make gravlax to go with freshly baked NYC bagels.
Gravlax is more delicate than smoked salmon and is easy to make. It uses a curing method of letting the freshest salmon you can find with salt/sugar and fresh dill. That’s it!
For 2 pounds of fresh salmon that my fishmonger cut especially to fit the plastic container I was going to travel with, I used about 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of Maldon sea salt. Mixed it together with lots of chopped fresh dill (or flash frozen dill in jar.)
Spread the mixture lightly on the flesh part of one fillet, then on to the second one. Gently put them together sprinkled sides together and cover with parchment paper and then plastic wrap (to keep the fish fresh from the refrigerator.) Set it in the fridge with room enough to place a jar of unopened spaghetti sauce or similar weight cans.
It can be served in two-three days (no longer.) Check it each day and spoon the liquid that comes out onto the fillets and rearrange them in the container.
When ready to serve, moisten a paper towel and brush off all of the curing marinade so that the salmon is ready for cutting. Be careful to excise any bones or spiny bits from the gravlax before slicing. Slice it with a very sharp, thin knife from the bottom up, away from you, pressing gently down until you’ve carved the thickness of the salmon you like and down to the skin. Lay each slice onto a serving plate and garnishes on the side in separate bowls (thin sliced red onion, capers and mustard glaze.)
The mustard glaze is made by stirring about 1/3 cup of Grey Poupon mustard, a tablespoon or so of olive oil, Marukan seasoned vinegar and some honey to taste. Add more chopped fresh dill into the bowl. Taste it for the amount of sweet sour taste that appeals to you by either adding some fresh lemon or more honey. You can add capers to the mustard sauce too.
The gravlax is wonderful on toasted bagels and is also tasty served on dense Russian rye or pumpernickel bread. Cream cheese is good too – with scallions and chives.
This recipe for gravlax is perfect for a brunch for twelve people – or for a dinner appetizer or just for a meal at home for the two of us (about 2/3rds of a pound.) It couldn’t be easier to make and we are fortunate to live in New England where really fresh salmon is available every day. This recipe relies on the freshness of the fish – and everything is a breeze to prepare from there!