< Fresh Approach: Gravlax

Thursday, December 15, 2005



A few days ago, while riffling through the icebox looking for something salty (its all about the salt with me kids. All about it. I swear, if I cut salt out of my diet, I would instantly be two sizes smaller) to nibble on, I spied a tragically lonely, single serving of wild caught Coho salmon calling out for some attention. Not being in the mood for sashimi, I cut short my quest for a nosh, and proceeded to pull together one of the worlds oldest preserved food recipes: gravlax. Sure, sure, it takes a few days to cure, but I have patience, and it is so very well worth the wait.

Now, as a long-time reader (ha ha) I'm sure you recall me saying this past summer I had found a recipe for Snapper Vera Cruz, the single most popular recipe taught at my cooking school. Turns out, I may have to revise that statement, since in the 18 months I spent at that fine academic institution we pretty much made gravlax once a week. That my peaches, is a heck of a lot of cured fish. Maybe they have an agenda I wasn't aware of...

Being obsessed (along with many other things - Pickles and cocktails come to mind) with Scandinavian food (My mother is partly Swedish after all. More on that some other time. It's fascinating stuff.) and what all, the consumption of vast quantities of this ambrosial (can you apply ambrosial to a savory food?) goodness has never been a problem for me. And the beauty is, you don't need much fish to feed quite a few people, you most likely have all the ingredients on hand, and it can be made in a heartbeat.

To serve it to the glitterati in your life in the most fab-ulicious kind of way, I suggest a slice of rye or pumpernickel bread, a thin layer of a 50/50 cream cheese-butter mixture, capers and pickled red onion. It is just the most beautiful combination of nearly translucent fish that has a hint of juniper, with the shockingly pink, crunchy onions and the creamy mouthfeel of the cheese. A mouthful of Valhalla. Try it, and enjoy

1 Salmon filet, skin on, bones removed, cut into 2 equal sized pieces
Equal parts white sugar and brown sugar
Salt equalling the sugar amount
Clear Spirits (I used gin. Aquavit or vodka are classic choices too)
Minced herbs (Dill is most traditional. I used Lemon Verbena because I had it)
Spices (I used cardamom. Try black pepper or cumin)
Freshly ground pepper

The recipe for this is pretty simple. Moisten the flesh of the fish with some of the spirit. (Wow, did that sound religious or what!) Top with minced herbs.

Combine the salt, sugars and pepper in a bowl.

In a non-reactive (meaning, glass or ceramic) dish, make a layer of the mix. Add the fish, skin down, coat heavily with more of the mixture. Top with another piece of fish skin side up, then pour the remaining mixture over it and pack down. Cover the container with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two to six days, turning once a day and draining any extra liquid. The time you leave it depends on how thick the filet is. To check it is done the fish will have turned completely opaque.

When done, brush off the sugar/salt mix. Slice as thin as can be and eat. Will keep up to a week.


The Food and Drug Administration sent letters last week to 29 cherry growers and packagers warning them that declarations such as Amon Orchards claim on its Web site that "cherries prevent cancer." Or Brownwood Acres Foods Inc., saying cherries "knock out gout," are "serious violations" of federal food labeling laws. - Washington Post.com

60 percent of the world's marine stocks are either fully fished, over-exploited, depleted or recovering at a slow rate. With seafood growing in demand, it is critical that sustainable fishing practices are followed. - Whole Foods.com

A Swedish specialty, gravlax is raw salmon, cured in a salt-sugar-dill mixture. It's sliced paper thin and served on dark bread as an appetiser, often accompanied by dill-mustard sauce. Lox can refer either to cold smoked salmon, or to salmon cured in a brine solution (also called gravlax).

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home
Post a Comment

<< Home
... Chefs Blogs

... Click for Beverly Hills, California Forecast

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

All of the original words and pictures on this site are copyrighted property. (So there. Nyah.) With that in mind, please ask permission first and give due credit, if you plan on reproducing any part of it. Thanks so much!

2003-2006 COPYRIGHT (C) Fresh Approach Cooking