I’ve made gravlax a few times during the past few years. Sometimes it’s been a little salty and dry – due, I think to the pieces of salmon being two small and thin. This time, my daughter and her husband were visiting and I purchased two large fillets of fresh salmon, cut from the thick end of 2 large pieces – 2.5 pounds total! I left the skin on because it provides a firm base upon which to slice the cured salmon when serving.
Here’s what I did which produced spectacular gravlax as you can see from the photograph above:
1. Using a paper towel wet with cold water, wipe the salmon clean on both sides. Pat dry.
2. In a bowl, mix together 1/3 cup of Maldon salt and 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar. Mix well.
3. Lined a glass pie plate with plastic wrap, 1 long strip going sideways and 1 long strip lengthwise. Lay down a double thickness of parchment paper. Then lay the larger piece of salmon, skin side down on the paper. Sprinkle the salt and sugar mixture evenly over the surface of the salmon.
4. Rinse and dry long fronds of fresh dill. Lay it generously on the salmon with the salt/sugar mixture on it.
5. Take the other piece of salmon and sprinkle it all over with salt/sugar mixture. Place gently skin side up on top of the fresh dill.
6. Wrap the plastic wrap both ways so that the salmon is airtight. Wrap a sheet of aluminum foil around the pie plate and place in refrigerator with heavy cans on top of it (baked beans do nicely) to weight down the fish while it is curing.
7. Check it after 24 hours and spoon any liquid back onto the salmon. Otherwise leave it along and let it cure in the fridge for about 36 hours total.
8. Take out the salmon about an hour before serving. Scrape off the dill/salt/sugar and brush the surface clean with a barely wet paper towel. With a sharp knife, slice at an angle, placing thin slices onto a serving plate – laying them crosswise as in the photo above works well.
9. Make a mustard dill sauce with chopped fresh dill, Poupon coarse mustard, a little champagne or sherry vinegar, half a spoon of sugar to taste.
10. Serve the sliced gravlax with sliced red onion, capers, sliced tomato and the mustard dill sauce. Toasted pumpernickel bread is a good option for eating the gravalax – Russian rye or toasted Everything bagels works well too. Bon Appetit!
Note: The four of us partook of the smaller piece for supper. I split the larger piece in two and we each had a nice repast the second night. So, if it were to serve at one meal, I’d estimate that the 2.5 pounds of salmon would serve six to eight adults easily.