You’ll never want to buy gravlax again once you’ve tasted your own homemade. Gravlax is simple to make and it’s not an exacting recipe. Feel free to use vodka instead of gin; I like the herbaceous taste of the gin. And you only really need the salt and sugar so use the spices you have on hand if you don’t want to run to the store. No time to plan--then buy your fillet without the skin and if it is thicker than 1/2-inch slice it 1/2-inch thick and it will be cured in 24 hours. Keep this in mind if you are short on time.
3-3½ pounds center-cut wild salmon, or sustainably raised filet
1/2 large bunch dill
2/3 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns, crushed
1/4 cup gin
A few springs dill
1/2 cup crème fraîche
2 ounces trout or salmon caviar (optional)
Toasted bread or brioche or plain crackers
1. Check the salmon filet for pin bones by running your fingers over the filet feeling for the bones. If you find any use tweezers or needle-nose pliers to remove. Pull in the same direction as the bones so the flesh stays intact. Place salmon filet skin side down (if the skin was removed then the smooth shiny side is the skin side), in a deep enamel or glass dish. Place a couple of sprigs of dill over the fish.
2. In a small bowl combine salt, sugar, fennel seeds, allspice, pink peppercorns. Drizzle gin over the filet and sprinkle the salt and sugar mixture evenly over the dill. Cover with plastic wrap and on it set a heavy pan/dish slightly smaller than the dish containing the salmon to weigh it down; refrigerate 48 hours. If your salmon has no skin and is 1/2-inch thick it will be cured in 24 hours. Keep this in mind if you are short on time.
3. When the gravlax is finished, removed the fish from its marinade, scrape away the dill and seasonings, and rinse briefly under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels. Place salmon skin on a cutting board and slice the salmon thinly on the diagonal. If it had the skin make sure you detach each slice from the skin. Place on toast trimmed of its crust. Top with crème fraîche, caviar, a drop of lemon juice and a small piece of dill. Or arrange on a platter, garnish with caviar (optional), crème fraîche, dill, and lemon wedges.
Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie