Our 4th of July menu was anything but classic Americana fare: Brazilian cocktails, Scandinavian cured fish, grasshopper pie…plus something to throw on the grill. Certainly a mish-mash of recipes from across the globe. But I had my reasons for such a menu…we gather with our neighbors each Independence Day for a pitch in dinner and fireworks. It’s the perfect time to test out some recipes for the blog…like this gravlax. My friends, unlike my family, will eat anything…and they are so proficient at giving me quotable reviews….an improvement over the “good stuff” or “you don’t have to make this again” that I get from my crew. Our #SundaySupper theme this week is canning, freezing and preserving. I am currently in northern Wisconsin for a family vacation along with my mother-in-law, brothers-in-law, their wives and my nephews. Cut off from cable TV, cell phones and the Internet, I wasn’t sure whether I should participate…but when I thought of preserving in a more general sense, my mind drifted to the gravlax..which has been on my foodie bucket list for years. The first gravlax recipe goes back to the Middle Ages when fishermen salted salmon and buried it in the sand to ferment. Nowadays, salmon fillets are coated with a salt and sugar mixture then topped with dill sprigs. Mine received a sprinkle of Cognac before hanging out in the fridge for half a week. The fillets were weighted down (I used two cast iron popover pans), then flipped every 12 hours…and the salmon is eventually cured via osmosis.
I knew I had a winner when one of my guests commented, “Great smoked salmon,” with Bill chiming in, “I hope there’s more of this.” Yes, Mr. Picky Pants was eating raw, cured salmon…whoa. Maybe he will eat fennel again one day…or mint…or nuts…or pineapple. I can dream, can’t I? Please scroll down to see all the marvelous home preserved recipes from my Sunday Supper friends!
- 4 pounds boned salmon fillets, skin on
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- 3 bunches fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons Cognac
- Wrap baking sheet in plastic wrap, then line with parchment. Place fillets baking sheet, skin side down. Remove any bones.
- Mix together pepper, sugar and salt. Sprinkle over fillets. Place dill over salmon, then drizzle with Cognac.
- Cover with plastic wrap, then top with another baking sheet. Place a heavy object on top of the second baking sheet (I used cast iron popover pans).
- Every 12 hours, flip the salmon pieces and cover with new plastic wrap. Continue for a total of 3-4 days.
- To serve, scrape off dill and spices. Pat dry. Slice thin pieces on the diagonal.