No Dill GravalaxPosted: August 21, 2012
My mother started calling me Dana-feed-the-5000 long before I knew there was a biblical reference for that name. I have the affliction of making too much food whenever I cook. My reasoning was not just for larger portions, but also for efficiency. I still contend that leftovers are better than the first eating so let’s make enough to have leftovers.
For a while this summer there was just Russ and myself at home. My frugal nature caused me to still buy a side of salmon for the two of us. Even with leftovers a whole side of salmon is too much for two people. After grilling a portion I decided to cure the other half. This is an easy process, but it takes a couple of days. The result is salmon that will keep much longer to stretch out the enjoyment and not cause me to have to throw salmon away.
Gravlax is a Scandinavian salt cured salmon. Lox is now the generic term for smoked salmon. I could have made a smoked salmon but it is way more work. Traditionally Gravlax uses lots of dill. I have a dislike of dill that is a carryover from my mother’s love of dill in potato salad. You decide if you want to include it if you want.
Piece of skinless salmon fillet
2 T. kosher salt
2 T. brown Sugar
1 T. whole peppercorns
1 T. fennel seeds
Fresh dill is optional
Grind the peppercorns and fennel up. I use a mortar and pestle, but you can use a spice grinder or the bottom of a heavy frying pan. You want to crush them to a large grind. Add the salt and the sugar and mix the spices together.
Lay out a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Sprinkle half the spice mixture on the plastic wrap as close to the size of the salmon as you can. If you like dill, lay fresh chopped dill on top of the spices here. Lay the salmon on top of the spices. Sprinkle the remaining spices on top of the salmon (And dill if you want) and then fold the plastic wrap up around it.
Place it in a plastic container that has a lid. Place in the refrigerator. Every 12 hours open the container and flip the plastic wrapped salmon over. Lots of liquid will accumulate in the container. After two day unwrap the salmon and discard the liquid and wrap. Wash any spice mixture still on the salmon off. The more you rinse the salmon the less salty it will be.
Slice it very thinly on the bias to serve it. I like it with scrambled eggs and tomatoes.