Okay, so in going over my honeymoon photos, I’ve come to miss my time in Scandinavia. I would give anything to go back again. We’re thinking of taking another cruise up that way eventually (in two years, hopefully), but for now…all I can do is make some Gravlax instead.
First off, I’m going to plug this cook book by Andreas Viestad. It’s called “Kitchen of Light: The New Scandinavian Cooking.” I used to watch his show on PBS all the time and I had a crush on the guy. I mean, c’mon…Who wouldn’t crush a Norwegian dude who digs a hole in the sands by the fjord and cooks a fish in it?
I decided to make Gravlax this weekend. I read up on it via the book and online sources and it seemed EXTREMELY TIME CONSUMING, which almost puts you off on the idea. If you’re patient and not too squeemish, this recipe is for you.
In reading up on Gravlax making, I noticed that the three main ingredients in curing the salmon are: Dill, Salt and Sugar.
I learned that the ratio for Salt and Sugar is mainly 1 part salt to 2 parts sugar.
I cut this salmon filet in half which turned out to be way more than enough for 2 people. I ended up a surplus of salmon. Next time, I know to make half of this amount.
Next, I de-boned the salmon and rubbed it with sea salt and sugar.
I topped one half will fresh dill and then topped the other filet on top of the dill, making a sort of salmon dill sandwich.
Wrap the dill salmon sandwich up in saran wrap tightly. Now, here is where the traditional part sets in…In Norway, they would put the gravlax in a that sand hole by the fjorn to let rot for a few days. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t trust a dirt hole to rot my salmon in Downtown Long Beach. Therefore, I made a dish with some rocks (you can use canned goods too) to place atop the salmon. This way, the salt and sugar begin to brine the salmon and the pressure on the rocks helps to release the brine solution. The solution sits in the saran wrap and the salmon cures in it.
I left the salmon out for 6 hours at room temperature with this rock plate on top of it. After that time elapsed, I tucked it away in the fridge for 24 hours (you can leave it up to 36 hours if you want).
After waiting impatiently for a day, I unwrapped the salmon from the saran wrap. Boy, it was sticky and gross and not fun to do. Rinse the sticky brine and the dill off of the salmon and cut into thin slices.
To prep the dish, I used a sea salt cracker from Whole Foods topped with their own lemon dill butter, the gravlax, capers and a slice of lemon.
Rus tested out the gravlax and loved it. He said (and I quote): “All of the flavors combine into one perfectly!”
Gravlax makes for a good party appetizer and I would definitely recommend making it with good planning and patience.