Gin Cured Gravlax
Let’s talk Gravlax. Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish of salmon dry-cured in sugar, salt, and delicious flavors like dill, or you know, gin. The thin slices of cured salmon goes well on bagels and rye bread, alongside mustard, creamy cheese, cucumbers and capers.
I chose a navy strength gin (Perry’s Tot) to ensure a strong flavor and I had some vague ideas about a higher proof being safer, backed up by nothing by assumptions.
The gravlax recipe is simple but you need time (72 days) and some space in a fridge.
Salmon, about a pound. This will make 2 party’s worth of gravlax.
1 cup sugar
1 cup salt
1 bunch fresh dill, cleaned
2 oz gin, navy strength, plus more for sprinkling
A deep pan, a casserole dish would be perfect. Not too big, just about the size of the salmon fillet.
Lots of plastic wrap
Weights – that can of beans you’ll never eat, pie weights if you have them, a book you don’t care for wrapped in plastic, etc.
Fridge space – enough for the pan and the weights
A sharp knife
Make sure the salmon looks nice and fresh. No smells? No slime? You’re probably okay. Ask your local fishmonger if you have any doubts. Safety first!
Slice the salmon in half, length wise, with a very sharp knife.
Mix the sugar and salt together in the casserole dish. Take the filet with skin and place it skin side down on the dish. Now bury it! Sprinkle about an ounce of gin over this fillet. Add about half the dill. Tuck it under the salmon if you feel inclined. Add the other piece of fillet on top and repeat.
Make sure your salmon is covered with the sugar, salt, and dill mixture. Wrap the dish in plastic, with enough give that you can press the plastic down around the fish. Add your weights! We want this to be a pressed salmon.
Now, stick it in the fridge. Every 24 hours, check it – sprinkle a little bit of gin. Flip the filets each time, and make sure they are covered. The sugar/salt mixture will become more like a liquid mixture, that’s fine. Remember to cover and press the salmon each time you take it out. If anything ever starts to smell bad, abort and try again. But with that much sugar and salt, you should only smell delicious salmon.
After about 72 hours, take that salmon out! It might be a bit stiff around the edges. Brush it clean, and get rid of the preserving stuff. Make a note to scrub that pot.
Slice the salmon very thin, on the diagonal. This will be very strong tasting on its on – try it! It’s good.
Gravlax on Toasts
Gravlax (you just made them!)
Cucumber, sliced thin
Dill, for garnish
Brioche or french bread sliced into bite-sized pieces
Spread the bread rounds with cream cheese
Add thin salmon slice
Top with cucumber and garnish with dill