Cured food is an old way of storing food. Techniques for preserving food have been around for hundreds of years. Pickling, salting, smoking, drying… all of these methods were used a lot when people didn’t have any refrigerators or freezers and needed to store the food. Now we have refrigeration and we don’t need to preserve anything. But preserving techniques live on and in all the nordic countries preserved food like pickled herring and smoked or cured salmon are popular. This, because this food is simply so good and it is also a part of us and our history. I guess its in the genes. Enough about that. Here is a recipe I used at Hotel Loftleiðir where kings and presidents have enjoyed this salmon. Treat yourself like royalty and make Gravlax.
8 tablespoons salt
5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dill seeds
1 tablespoon finely crushed fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh dill
1 fillet of salmon
Notes: This mixture will cover 2 fillets of salmon. I never make less of the recipe as the possibility of exactness is more the smaller the recipe is.
1. Ask your fish monger to remove all of the little pin bones from the fish. To do this yourself you can use needle nose pliers. Or just make it really easy and ask for a fillet with the pin bones already removed.
2. Mix salt, sugar, dill seeds,fennel, pepper and the chopped fresh dill together in a medium size bowl.
3. Use a tray or baking sheet with sides that is big enough to hold the fillet. Sides are necessary because the fish will give off some liquid as it cures. Spread enough curing mixture to cover the bottom of the tray then gently press the fish, skin side down on top of the mixture. Evenly spread and gently press remaining curing mixture over the top of the salmon. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 days.
4. Before serving, drain and discard the liquid that has accumulated in the pan. Then place fillet on a cutting board and cut into thin slices.
5. Serve with Gravlax Sauce and toast. Boiled then chilled asparagus is the perfect accompaniment.
3 tablespoons Skånsk Senap (Swedish mustard. We found it on Amazon for $9.99)
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup of chopped fresh dill
Whisk it all together in a bowl.
Serve chilled with gravlax.