A few years back, I had stumbled upon a new discovery to me called gravlax. Having been a fan of lox my whole life, particularly as a New Yorker, where bagels and lox are a breakfast staple, I was intrigued to know more!
Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish that was made by fishermen during the Middle Ages who salted and fermented salmon by burying it in the sand. Just the fact that the basic recipe for this salmon dish goes back centuries is intriguing on its own! Gravlax actually means buried salmon. Since I do not have a sand pit, I buried it deep in my refrigerator!
I picked up a large piece of wild salmon from the market. At the time I had not realized that it was not deboned, so I had to figure out how to do that. The whole time all that I could think of was the fact that every summer when my father went fishing on Long Island Sound, and would come home with fresh fish, I would turn my nose up at it and very rarely, unless in the mood, or unless I was not given much of a choice as a kid, I would eat it. Now, what I would not give for that freshly caught fish on my table today!
So I sliced my salmon in half and deboned it. I prepared my mixture of sea salt, sugar, and pepper, and patted it onto both flesh exposed sides of the salmon. I grated some lemon peel so that the essential oils of the peel would flavor my fish. I placed the fresh dill and chives on one salmon fillet, and sandwiched it with the other fillet. At this point you must tightly wrap it is plastic wrap many times over, place it in a container and place a second heavy container with a weight on it, like cans or something. (I used two heavy baking dishes and weighted them down with cans of beans.) I placed it in the back of the refrigerator for five day, flipping it over once a day.
When it is ready to be unwrapped, you must rinse it well from the brine and slice it.
Serve it on small pieces of toast with cream cheese, or over boiled greens. Anyway you desire!
Today, I served it over wild arugula, simply drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice. It was divine!
The salmon after five days, all wrapped up, the juices from the brine and the fish having escaped into the pan.
The flavors of the herbs, grated lemon peel and brine mixture have been absorbed into the flesh of the fish. It is now ready to be rinsed and then sliced.
Pink slices of heavenly salmon!
1 cup sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp fresh pepper
grated lemon zest of a whole lemon
bunch of dill
bunch of chives