Monday, August 8, 2016

Summer Project: Gravlax

Summer is quickly flying by, and I'm feeling like I didn't do as much as I had wanted to accomplish. It happens every summer, really. The kids didn't do any work to keep their minds sharp. In fact, I'm pretty sure my 11 year old has spent around 5 hours on either the computer or video games most days, except for the week we were gone on vacation and his week at soccer camp. Sigh.

I did, however, finally attempt gravlax, a Nordic version of cured salmon that uses sugar, salt and dill. The salt and sugar cure the fish, kind of like smoked salmon but without the smoke part. Because I didn't want to get stuck with a whole side of salmon in case things didn't work out (and because we are a family of 4 and really don't need to have 2 lbs of cured salmon to eat up), I started out small.

It really was quite easy. Just combine the salt and sugar, then I laid the salmon on plastic wrap, topped it with the dill, and then the salt/sugar combo. Wrapped up the fish, then put it in the fridge for 36 hours. Guess what?! It turned out great! You might be able to tell from the picture that my dill wasn't exactly up to par. It's kind of late in the season for dill, and most of mine from the garden was dried out. I found a few greenish stalks, though, and, because they still smelled "dilly," they would suffice. If I could do it over, I would've used twice as much dill, though.

As I mentioned, you just put your fish on a sheet of plastic wrap, then cover it with your salt, sugar and dill. This is what it looks like all wrapped up:

Then, you just leave it in the fridge for about 36 hours. I probably could have taken it out a little earlier, since it was a smaller piece of fish than the original recipe called for, but all-in-all, it looked good. Once your time is up, just unwrap and rinse the salt off. Then you are left with this:

Gorgeous, right??! All that was left to do was thinly slice across the top and add to whatever I wanted.

So, what do you do with your gravlax? For me, I was looking forward to a sandwich, a traditional smørrebrød with goat cheese, some fresh dill (this time I bought some from the grocery store), maybe a squeeze of lemon:

Then, I remembered we had hard-boiled eggs, so I upped the ante:

And, to go full "Old World Style" on dinner, I made cold beet soup, which consisted of plain kefir, a jar of drained and rinsed pickled beets, two grated Persian cucumbers, salt and peppers, garnished with cold, boiled potatoes and more hard-boiled eggs and dill. It was a perfect summer meal.

The recipe that was my guide can be found here, but I pretty much just used it for the ratios. Basically, it's one part salt to two parts sugar. For the size of fillet that I used, I used 1/3 cup salt and 2/3 cup sugar, then as much usable dill as I could scavenge from my garden. So easy and so good! I will definitely be making this again!