Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gravlax, one of my favorites

Gravlax is one of those things that only seems really tricky to make, when really it's one of the easiest things to make. It's Salmon cured in salt, sugar and spices over several days. You slice it very thin then enjoy the crap out of it. The prep work for this takes just minutes once you get comfortable eyeballing out the portions. If you don't trust curing meat at home, then I'm sorry being such a huge cry baby is holding you back from enjoying one of my favorite foods.
This is what you need to make it happen.
-A Salmon portion (I got mine from Stop and Shop and curing is about all super market fish is good for. Go to a good fish market if you're having fish for dinner)
-Kosher salt
- Sugar (I use the raw kind)
-Fennel seeds
- Dill

I always have a bag of the salt mix in my cabinet and if I need more I just mix more straight into the bag I have. Which is what I'm doing here. As far as the measurements go I'm used to eyeballing it. These are the the rough measurements.
-2 cups salt
-3/4 cup sugar (maybe 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons fennel seed
-3 tablespoons dried dill
You can't really mess it up unless you put too much fennel seed in, the taste will be very over powering so add with caution
I almost forgot black pepper goes in this as well, put in about a tablespoon. Fresh cracked is best even though it can be a pain.
Once everything is in the bag seal it up and give it a good shake. I find if you seal it with some air in the bag it mixes easier. And I know what you're thinking and the answer is yes, my hand IS very strong.
So now that we have our salt mix we're going to assemble everything. Hang in there kids this is were your motor skills come into play. Get a dinner plate and lay a piece of plastic wrap on top of the plate. This piece of wrap is about two feet long, so lay one of the ends over the plate. Now put enough salt on the the wrap to give the fish a nice bed. Pat it out.
Shake some more dill over the salt. For this part it's nice to have fresh chopped dill but dried is fine.
I trimmed that little skinny end of the fish off to make a more uniform piece of fish. This cut is about 3/4 of a pound. Try starting with a smaller cut around 1/2 pound, you'll still get plenty of product. I sprinkled more dill on the top of the fish.
More salt mix on the top of the fish, don't be stingy with it. You have to cover the whole fish with a nice layer

You are now going to wrap the fish up in the plastic like a pretty little package. Make sure you get as much air out as you can and wrap it up tight. You can use another piece of plastic wrap if you need to make sure it's snug.
So now it looks like this on the plate.

And stick it in your frig. I keep it on a plate because it will start to get leaky as it pulls the water from the fish out. I know it seems sort of icky, but we put it on a plate so at least it won't get on your shelf. I'm going to let it cure for three days, tomorrow before I go to work I'll give it a flip. When I come home from work I'll flip it again, and I'll keep doing this for the next three days. So three days from now I'll pull it out and show you the rest.

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