My boss's husband is someone who takes his food very seriously, but not in a nobby way. He makes his own gravadlax all the time and no matter how many times I have been told how easy it is, I shied away from it, raw fish = danger, right? WRONG! This is so easy and delicious and about a million times cheaper than buying the equivalent of smoked salmon for a party. I did a side of salmon for my parent's Christmas drinks bash, and despite a very nervous discussion about whether or not it was too salty, with my Father, it turned out brilliantly, and furthermore, very pink! DO IT NOW!
This recipe uses a side of salmon, skin on, about 700/750g. You could do it with a smaller piece but I would reduce the curing time. Be aware that you need to cure it for 48 hours, so this isn't a last minute thing. Don't panic if you can't get fresh horseradish, just leave it out, but it does give a nice firey punch.
|Not a salad.|
Grate three raw, peeled beetroot and a 5 inch piece of fresh horseradish and mix together. Put the salmon in a big flat dish (I used a baking tray and cut the fish in half for ease), skin side down, and sprinkle over enough sea salt flakes to cover the fish with a decent covering of salt, about 150g depending on the surface area. Now sprinkle over a handful of demerara sugar and the beet horseradish mix and pat down to make sure it's all covered well. Sprinkle over two shots of gin, a big handful of chopped dill and then grate over the zest of a lemon (un-waxed obvs). It will look like a very healthy bright salad but don't be fooled. Wrap the dish tightly in clingfilm and put something on top to weigh it down, I used a smaller tray and a load of tinned tomatoes.
Hard work done. Leave it in the fridge for 48 hours.
Pull out of the fridge and marvel at the tonne of liquid that has come out (DON'T spill it all over your fridge. A pink food hygiene issue is not what you need.) Get it over the sink, and however you want, remove all the bits and pieces you have lovingly strewn on the salmon, bin them, and give it a good rinse with COLD water to remove every last bit of salt (I didn't do this at first, hence the very serious 'oh dear it's a bit salty' chat). Now scrub your hands as they will be very pink and a bit fishy. Nice. You can leave the skin on if you like, removing as you go but if you're using the whole lot in one go, using a long sharp knife, and skin side down, carefully remove it. Slice it (a jamon knife is ideal for this) in long thin ribbons and do with your beautifully cured bright pink gravadlax what you like. We had it on blinis with creme fraiche with dill and fake caviar, but it would be amazing in scrambled egg, on crackers, on it's own...I tossed some leftovers in some creamy pasta which completely changed it, not in a bad way, waste not want not and all that.
Rather annoyed I didn't get a shot of the finished blinis but we were all a bit busy eating them and getting pissed on quince bellinis. Not quince blinis. Or salmon bellinis.