I’m posting this on Monday, which just gives you time to shop and prepare for the coming weekend. This is NOT a 1-2-3 dish ready in just 30 minutes. The salmon needs to cure for 3 days, or more, in your fridge. The gravlax itself is made with gin, lime and juniper berries — yielding a sweet-and-salty treat that can be the foundation for a wonderful appetizer plate. Or even the main dish for your weekend brunch.
As the picture shows, gravlax provides you the chance to unleash your culinary imagination. The gravlax on the plate can be surrounded by all the tidbits you have come to love: great toast, capers, cucumber slices, sour cream, cream cheese, horseradish sauce, … Whatever you want and the more the merrier.
I know: hearing something takes 3 days can give you pause. But, it’s really just sitting in your fridge and all you have to do is turn it once a day. If you have never ever tried making your own gravlax before, it’s time.
This recipe is from Brooklyn Bar Bites by Barbara Scott-Goodman. My review is here. It’s a lovely guide to the best bars and best bar foods in a true culinary mecca. You can see my review here. And, if you can’t get to Brooklyn, you can get this book and cook and drink away.
That beautiful photo is by Jennifer May who brilliantly punctuates the book with color and style.
Yield: serves 6 to 8
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup packed brown sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- Grated zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- One 1 ½ -pound skin-on fresh salmon fillet
- ¼ cup City of London dry gin
- 1 tablespoon crushed juniper berries (use the side of a heavy knife)
Stir the salt, sugar, lime zest, and pepper together in a small bowl and mix with your fingers until well blended.
Put the salmon fillet, skin side up, on a large sheet of plastic wrap on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour half the gin evenly over the salmon. Spread half the salt mixture over the skin, then carefully flip the salmon over. Pour the rest of the gin over the salmon and rub with the remaining salt mixture. Spread the juniper berries over the salmon, pressing lightly so they won’t fall off.
Wrap the salmon in the plastic wrap, then double-wrap with a second sheet of plastic wrap. Put it on a platter, cover with another platter, and put a 4- or 5-pound weight on top. Put the salmon in the refrigerator for 3 days and turn it over once a day.
When ready to serve, unwrap the salmon and transfer it to a cutting board. Using a long, thin, sharp knife, cut the salmon into thin slices at a 30-degree angle. The traditional cut starts diagonally at one corner of the salmon, then works back toward the center of the fillet. Discard the skin. Arrange the salmon slices on a platter and serve.
Source: Brooklyn Bar Bites by Barbara Scott-Goodman [Rizzoli, 2016]