I love salty meats – cured or pickled or smoked. Gravlax is an easy do-at-home way to preserve fish and wow your friends. I made a big batch after our salmon haul last year in Washington and am still enjoying these bright orange jewels, pulled like treasure from the depths of my freezer.
This coho salmon gravlax was the recent star of a simple to make but fancy to look at supper of handrolls.
I sliced the gravlax thin and arranged it along with avocado, sushi rice, pickled ginger, sauerkraut (trust me, it works!), and wasabi. Small squares of nori serve as the base, and each person build their own little customized bite.
– 3lbs center cut salmon filet, skin on, pinbones removed (you want center cut so the filet is thick, but you can do it with whatever salmon you have, the thin part will just dry out to more like salmon jerky
– 1/4 cup vodka
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup kosher salt
– 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
– 1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns
– 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
– 1 bunch fresh dill, washed
– olive oil
Find a glass dish that is just slightly larger than the salmon filet. Pour the vodka over the fish in the dish and turn to coat. Leave it while you prep the rest.
Mix the sugar, salt, fennel, pepper, and coriander together. Drain the excess vodka off the fish and place 1/3 of the sugar/salt mixture under the salmon in the dish. Place the salmon skin side down back in the dish. Arrange the dill on the flesh side of the salmon and then cover with the remaining sugar/salt mixture. Cover tightly and place in the fridge for 2-3 days, depending on thickness of the fish. The fish will give off a lot of moisture and will take on a very firm texture. If the fish has taken on too much salt, you can soak it briefly in cold water to remove some of the salt. Just taste a bit (knowing that the edges will be the most salty part and knowing that gravlax should be a bit salty when done right) and soak for 10 minutes at at time until it has the right saltiness.
Remove the filet from the cure and rinse with cold water. Pat dry and place in a clean glass dish, drizzling with olive oil to coat generously. You can store the filet like this or sealed in a bag in the freezer. It is great on a bagel with cream cheese, or try the hand roll idea!