Friday, March 6, 2015

Gravad Lax - Raw Spiced Salmon

While I am no fan of raw meat, raw fish is another thing. We eat gravad lax a lot, and it is salmon that is cured in salt, sugar, and dill - although there are lots of variations on the recipe. Many make their own and my sister-in-law has introduced us to one made with gin and elderflower saft. You make it thus:

Take a 900 grams (2 pounds or thereabout) salmon filet with the skin still on. It should have been frozen for a few days. Make sure all bones are removed. Cut the salmon in half. Mix 4 tablespoons sugar, 4 tablespoons salt, 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, and the zest from one lemon. Rub this mixture into the salmon filet. Place one piece on top of the other, thin side on top of thick side. Put them in two plastic bags (to prevent leaking) and pour in 4 tablespoons concentrated elderflower saft (which is a syrup, basically) and 3 tablespoons of gin. If your supermarket doesn´t have saft you can try at an IKEA near you, or look for something called Elderberry flower syrup that is used to mix drinks. Or substitute the gin and saft for any fruity liqueur that you like.

Put this on a plate in the fridge for 2-3 days. Turn the bag once a day.

When it´s done you just wipe off the spices and slice the salmon thinly. We enjoy it with mashed potatoes, a salad, and a mustard sauce (from the store or done the simple way: mix 2 dessert spoons each of mustard, vinegar and oil with 2 teaspoons brown sugar, salt and pepper), but it´s great on bread, or just as a snack. If you don´t cure the fish yourself, it is pretty fast food, actually. And mighty healthy.

The word gravad (same as in grave) comes from when fishermen in the Middle Ages (and no doubt earlier, too) buried salted fish on the shores to let them ferment before they were eaten. Similar methods are used on Greenland with seal and here in Sweden we ferment herring in tin cans.

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