Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Swedish Me


My most recent trip to the market brought out the Swede in me (my Grandmother was born and raised in Kvistofta which is near Helsingborg)....I saw the fresh salmon and immediately got the craving for Gravlax.  I really love eating those oh, so, good, cured pink slices.  I usually make my own, even though I hate to wait the 2-3 days for it to be ready.

Standing with my children in front of my Grandma's childhood home in Sweden  (1982).   Grandma was born in 1888 and still living at the time this picture was taken.

I tried to put a little variation in my recipe this time.  I used a flaky smoked sea salt instead of the regular salt.  Also, when making a wet paste of the salt and sugar mixture, I used gin...yeah, really, gin! I had a little bottle of gin in my cupboard, so I thought "let's use that."  I know some people use vodka, or aquavit, but I never have.  The end result was great.  I even left out the dill just to see what it would be like...just fine, too.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of dill, but I thought, I'll just put fresh sprigs of dill on the finished slices to get my "dill fix".

Another change I made was not to put a weight on the fish....does it really matter, I, indeed it didn't! No more placing heavy bricks, or cans, on the salmon during the 2-3 day cure in the fridge...yes!

Here's my simple recipe:

1 small salmon fillet (buy the previously frozen filet so all organisms are killed), no bones!
1/2 cup smoked sea salt
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup good gin  (Or, 1 individual bottle of gin, airplane bottle size)
fresh cracked black pepper

Wash salmon, place skin side down on a large piece of plastic wrap.
Mix salt, sugar, pepper, and gin to make a wet rub.
Pat the wet rub on the top of the salmon.
Fold the plastic wrap around the salmon.
Place the wrapped salmon in a glass dish (no aluminum or reactive metal)
Leave in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
After 2-3 days, remove from fridge, wash off the salt, pepper and juices, pat dry with a paper towel.
Slice thinly with a very sharp knife. (Slice on an angle.)

That's it, folks, nothing to it.  Don't be afraid to try this, it's great.  Make sure the salmon has been frozen for at least 7 days, or buy sushi grade salmon.

My daughters bought me the ladle and bowl for an Xmas gift years ago during our trip around the World...yes, we traveled the entire circumference in one trip, stopping anywhere we wanted, all for one ridiculously cheap fare. The only catch, we had to travel in the same direction without going back.

Bread, butter, rolled salmon slices, and pickled wild caperberries....very simple, but tasty. 

There are many ways to eat Gravlax,  meaning to say, you can use lots of condiments.  You get to choose your own favorites.  Some are:  honey mustard sauce,  sour cream dill sauce, cream cheese, capers, pickled sliced red onions, drizzled with melted butter, or olive oil, sprinkled with chopped dill, or scallions, or chives, etc........

Here are two good links on making Gravlax...I found them after I wrote this post today.

Looks like this person thought along the same

Or, read here.

Have you made Gravlax?  If so, how did you prepare it?  What do you prefer to eat with it?

 Now, I'm starting to crave pickled herring, or better yet, creamed herring...the Swede in me won't quit.



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