Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Something Fishy -- Gravlax from a Box (Well the Recipe)

The box!
I'm been remiss in keeping up with Blog Appetit, and for that you have my apologies.  What finally prompted me to get back to posting is a gift of fish, this time from our friend Chris who caught and fileted a mighty salmon from San Francisco Bay.

He dropped off the fish and I offered to make my husband some cold-cured salmon, known as gravlax.  Well, I've written about this before, but it was a fancy shamancy recipe and truth be told I just usually use the recipe from the back of an old box of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. (It's been empty for years, but I keep it around for a combination of sentiment and practicality -- this way I always know where the recipe is.)

Diamond Crystal's Gravlax
Note: This recipe can take 2-3 days so start with really fresh fish and leave enough time.

About 3 lbs. salmon (two boneless filets)
1 bunch fresh dill

Gravlax from a previous batch
1/4 kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs. crushed black peppercorns

I like to slice off the silvery skin, but you can leave it on it you want.

Place one filet skin side down in deep glass baking dish, scatter dill on top.  Combine salt, sugar and peppercorns.  Sprinkle on top of dill.  Place remaining filet in baking dish on top of this, skin side up.
Cover with plastic wrap.  Place weights on top to evenly compress.  The salt box recommends bricks or cans of food.  I cover with a small cutting board to evening distribute the weight and then use 1 lb. tubs of tofu or cans.  Every 12 hours, turn the fish and baste it with the accumulated juices, including between the 2 layers of fish.  Continue to refrigerate and baste for 2-3 days until the fish seems "cured" to your taste. (The flesh should be firmed up.) Well wrapped, refrigerated leftovers will last for a few days.

I've made the recipe with as little as a pound of fresh salmon filets -- just adjust the seasoning.

To serve, scrape off dill and seasonings.  Slice individual filets (skin side down) into thin slices.  Serve as you would lox or smoked salmon or try with a mustard dill sauce.

The Diamond Crystal website has a wonderful looking Asian Fusion Gravlax recipe by Joyce Goldstein on its site -- I might incorporate some of these seasonings next time.  I was already thinking on my own about adding some crushed juniper berries to the seasoning mix.

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