My four year old son David is crazy about this recipe, he even came up with a name for it “The Pink Fish”. Moreover, I myself am admittedly obsessed with raw fish and if you ever come for dinner I will probably serve you some kind of raw fish in one form or another at some point of the evening. Most gravlax recipes call for the fish to be cured with sugar and dill, I however find that using good quality honey subtly deepens the flavor. As to the dill, I simply omit it because I don’t like the way it alters the flavor of the salmon, but that is just me, you can add a couple of tablespoons of chopped dill to the brine if you like. Achieving the right flavor and texture in gravlax in not always easy, but if you know exactly what result you want to achieve and follow these steps you will end up with a feast for the palate and the eyes. You can serve it a an appetizer over a wooden board with bread, onions, capers and mustard sauce. You also can make it into an elegant first course over blini (recipe coming up soon) or simply serve it as a gourmet open face sandwich as a Sunday brunch.
500g sushi grade salmon fillet
2 Tbs Himalayan salt, Fleur de Sel or sea salt
2 Tbs honey
1 tsp black pepper corns crushed in a mortar
1 Tbs vodka
Wash and pat dry the salmon and cut it across in two equal pieces.
In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper, honey and vodka, you will get a tick sauce. Resist the urge to add more salt, this a common mistake we all do with our first gravlax.
Place a large piece of cling paper on a cutting board, put the fish on top and rub both sides with the honey brine. Place one of the pieces of salmon over the other and wrap tightly with the cling paper. Place the wrapped fish in a rectangular tupperware, terrine dish or a bread baking tin, press it down with the bottom of a second tupperware filled with some kind of weight, I usually use a can of beans.
Refrigerate for 18 to 20 hours, flipping the fish after 8 hours (or as often as you can remember) for even curing. The dish will be full of brining liquid, that is normal, don’t discard it. Keep in mind that the longer you cure the fish the saltier and more rigid its flesh will be. The idea is to achieve a flavorful, not too salty, shiny, bright orange, silky textured gravlax, something between sashimi and smoked salmon.
Rinse thoroughly the salmon under cold water, dry it well with paper towel and refrigerate it for one more hour to allow the flavors to settle, don’t skip this step, it is crucial for the gravlax to develop a balanced flavor and texture.
I serve it with sliced sweet onions, capers, whole grain mustard and toasted baguette.
It can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days but in my house we usually don’t have to worry about leftovers.