Gravlax - A New Salmon Experience

Well, new for me at any rate.  I was doing that thing Foodies do, whilst reading a book.  Some intriguing food is mentioned, a light bulb then goes off, research is done on the handy smart phone, and a recipe appears.  The book in question was The Body in the Kelp, one in a series by Katherine Hall Page.  The protagonist, Faith Fairchild, is a caterer and of course, part time sleuth.  The books are fun, light reading.  With the added inducement of delicious food mentions.

Faith was busy planning a meal for some incoming guests, her sister (whom she characterizes as someone whose culinary skills are knowing the right numbers to dial) and brother-in-law.  Well, she is busy making Salmon Gravlax.  And so on and so forth. Of course, after finding out what the heck it was, I realized that 2 big fillets of salmon had just taken up residence in my fridge.  Nicely defrosted now and ready for whatever.  Bob had been given them by a customer visiting from Alaska.  Talk about perfect timing!  

So, according the the recipe site I located, "Gravlax is the Scandinavian style cold-cured salmon appetizer served thinly sliced with a mustard-dill sauce drizzled on top, with hearty rye bread, crisp rye crackers, or anywhere you would use lox - on bagels or bialys, as well as with latkes or blinis." Since I had been planning to make blinis anyway, on the gluten free, allergy test elimination project, there was buckwheat flour on hand.  More serendipity!

It's actually pretty easy.  For the full operation, go to the link.  In a nutshell, the first step is mixing up your curing ingredients (basically salt, sugar and pepper) in a little bowl.  Then drizzling vodka over the fillets, and spreading on the cure, then you sprinkle on chopped dill.  Luckily I had some fresh in the garden. Next, stack up the fillets in a dish, cover with plastic wrap, and weigh down the works with something heavy.  Then let it chill for 12 hours or overnight.  Turn over and repeat.

Above is the weight, for which use I resurrected an implement last used in 2010, an aebleskiver pan.  If you read the amusing (I promise) post, you will will understand.  It is a heavy implement.  And long lasting. 

After the cure,  it is recommended that the salmon be frozen for about 7 days to ensure all wicked bacteria are immobilized.  Then it can be sliced thin and served up. 

Really, this post should include the blini recipe.  

Gluten Free Buckwheat Blinis

Makes 24 mini-blinis (I made larger ones)
1¼ cup (156 g) buckwheat flour 
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast 
1 cup (240 ml) warm milk (110°F/43°C)
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for cooking the blinis
1 egg, separated
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk

Mix the buckwheat flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Stir in the warm milk. Cover and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. (You can stop at this point, cover and put the batter in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Bring the mixture back to room temperature before proceeding.)
Stir in the butter, egg yolk and buttermilk. Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and gently fold into the batter using a rubber spatula. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
Heat a large skillet or crêpe pan over medium heat. Brush with melted butter and add the batter in spoonfuls. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook 1 minute or so on the other side. Remove and keep warm. Continue with the rest of the batter. These are best served warm, straight from the pan. If made in advance, let cool, cover with plastic wrap and reheat in a warm oven before serving.

Quite delicious, with the salmon, sour cream, and sprinkles of garlic chives or dill.  I added a side of watermelon salad with feta. I'm sharing all the goodness with Weekend Cooking, hosted by the Intrepid Reader, Marge, and with Heather for her June edition of Foodies Read.


A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

I have never made gralax before but often have thought about it. You have inspired me to give it a go.

Mae Travels said...

How lucky to have some great salmon on hand to make this. I had a very good friend who made marvelous gravlax. Sadly, she died some years ago, and now I only have it occasionally in a restaurant. She had a trusted source of safe salmon.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Marg said...

I have never tried gravalax. Like you, I do get inspired by passages I read in books, even if they aren't particularly foodie books.

Beth F said...

I'm way too lazy to make my own gravlax, but I too had a friend who made it -- once. Good luck with your allergy elimination diet. It's such a pain to try to figure out what you're suddenly allergic or sensitive to.

Tina said...

That was interesting how to make gravlax, I thought it was more complicated!