With Christmas fast approaching I thought a homemade gravlax recipe might come in rather useful. Smoked salmon always makes an appearance on Christmas day, but I think a homemade gravlax might make a welcome change. This Nordic dish is very simple to prepare as ultimately you are simply curing the salmon in salt, sugar, fresh dill and gin (or vodka/schnapps).
I tend to use the container that the salmon comes in to cure it, which makes it all very straight forward and fuss free. If you want to add a pink hue to the gravlax, simply add a small grated beetroot when you add the fresh dill to begin with. Sometimes I also like to add juniper berries, which I crush and add to the curing ingredients (no more than 2 tsp). I like to cure the salmon for 48 hours, by which time it has hardened and taken on the wonderful flavours it has been curing in.
The end result can be made into canapés, of presented as a starter in the middle of the table. I like to make a lemony, mustard and dill dressing and for some crunch pickled cucumbers works a treat.
Above gives you an idea on how it would look as a table centre piece for a starter and below as a canapé, or in my case, lunch with a mug of miso soup.
Serves 4-6 as canapés or starter
500g salmon fillet, skin on (bones removed) this one is perfect
100g fresh dill, finely chopped, leaves and stalks
2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
2 tbsp gin (or vodka or schnapps)
70g flakey sea salt
80g caster sugar
2 tsp freshly ground juniper berries, optional
1 small beetroot, peeled and grated, optional
- Using a hand blender (or by hand) other than the salmon, mix all the ingredients together to form a green sugary salty rub.
- Using the container that the salmon has come in, or a container that the salmon comfortably fits, add half the rub. Place the salmon on top – flesh side down – and then cover with the remaining rub. Make sure the salmon is completely covered. Cover with a lid or cling film and place back in the fridge for 48 hours, turning a couple of times throughout this period.
- Before serving, remove most of the rub by gently running it under some cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper. You want some of the dill to remain on the salmon.
Thirty minutes before serving you need to make the pickled cucumbers.
1 whole cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (a mandolin is great for this)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp flakey sea salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, optional
- Place all the ingredients in a bowl and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Squeeze out the excess moisture (there will be quite a lot), and then place in a serving bowl or on the serving platter.
Whilst the cucumber is pickling, clean out an old jam jar with a lid.
Mustard and Lemon Dressing
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 small lemon, juice only (I like it quite lemony, so perhaps add 1/2 juice of a lemon first and add more once it is all mixed together)
1 tbsp caster sugar
pinch of flakey sea salt
50g finely freshly chopped dill
2 tbsp sunflower/olive oil
- Place all the ingredients in your jar, secure the lid and mix thoroughly. Taste test and add more salt/sugar/lemon to taste.
- Place in a bowl ready to accompany the gravlax and pickled cucumber.
- Store in the fridge if made ahead of time. It will last for well over a week in the fridge.