Monday, June 24, 2013

Making Your Own Gravlax

Having been raised in the Borscht Belt of NY I have of course had my fair share of lox. Even as a kid I recognized this is good stuff. It wasn't until a few years ago I learned that I could make my own cured salmon at home with ease.  I prefer the Scandinavian preparation of the salmon called Gravlax.  From what I understand the term lox is a generic term. There are different ways to make lox, some include smoking, others don't. Traditional "Jewish" lox tend to come from a fattier fish then the type used in for Gravlax.  There are a million different twists on how to prepare this delish dish, below is the very simple version that I like.


1 lb. super fresh wild Salmon with skin on (go to a good grocery store and get the best option you can afford, try to get a pc that is fairly thick and even. Prepare this same day you bring the fish home.)
1 1/2 cups Course Kosher Salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 bunch of dill rinsed and dried (stems cut off for most part)

Mix together the salt, sugar and pepper. Spread 1/2 of this mixture in the bottom of a small glass or ceramic baking dish. (Try to use something that is just a bit bigger then the fish, I suggest not using metal dish)

Wash and pat dry the fish. Place it skin side down on the salt mixture. Dump the rest of the salt mixture on top of the flesh side of the fish. Pile it on good, press some against the sides of the fish so it is complete covered. Take your dill and pile it on top of the salt mixture.
Cover your dish with plastic wrap and place a weight on the salmon, you can use a foil wrapped brick but I just used 2 cans of beans. Place in the fridge for about 18 hours.
Remove from fridge and flip the salmon, you will see that all the salt has dissolved and the fish is sitting in a curing liquid.
Cover and return fish with weights to the fridge for another 18 hours.
Once at least 36 hours has passed (don't leave it too much more then the 36 hours, one batch I left for 48 got really tough, on it's way to fish jerky) rinse the fish to get all the curing liquid and dill off and pat dry.  You now have Gravlax!!  Slice as thinly as possible or as thinly as you like! Serve at room temp and keep any leftovers in the fridge.
My favorite way to serve this is on a crostini with a small dollop of crème fraiche, a few capers and some dill as pictured at the top of this post. A sprinkling of finely chopped shallot or red onion would be a great addition as well.
Note: You are curing not cooking this fish so be sure to get fresh (not previously frozen) fish from a reputable source and prepare same day you bring the fish home. Once prepared this will easily last a few days in the fridge but use common sense :-)

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