Home made gravlax is ridiculously easy to make, yet so impressive to serve as a celebratory starter or as part of a buffet. During the Middle Ages, Scandinavian fishermen made gravlax by salting the freshly caught salmon and burying it in the sand above the high-tide line to lightly ferment it. The word gravlax comes from the Scandinavian word gräva/grave (“to dig”; modern sense “to cure (fish)”) … and the Indo European root ghrebh “to dig, to scratch, to scrape” and lax/laks, “salmon”.
These days we no longer use fermentation to make gravalax, instead the salmon is buried in a dry marinade of salt, sugar, and dill, and cured overnight and up to a few days. As the salmon cures, the moisture in the fish turns the dry cure into a highly concentrated brine which both ‘cooks’ and preserves the fish.
This recipe is from Gordon Ramsay BBC Good Food.
‘Les restes’ – Salmon Tartare
The French have a such a lovely expression for leftovers – les restes. This recipe will serve 8-10 as a starter and more if part of a buffet, so you may well have some leftover to make Salmon Tartare. Simply mix about 200g of diced gravadlax with very finely chopped shallot, English mustard and lemon juice to taste and serve with toast.
Pasture-raised meats, dairy, eggs and wild caught fish have a vastly superior nutritional profile, as do organic, or cleanly grown fruits and vegetables. Please try to source your food as well as you are able.
Citrus Cured Gravadlax with Horseradish Creme Fraiche
Home made gravlax is ridiculously easy to make, yet mega impressive to serve as a celebratory starter or part of a buffet. .
For the Horseradish Creme Fraiche
Tip the spices for the salt mix into a food processor/spice mill and whizz until the spices are completely ground. Add the remaining salt mix ingredients and process until everything is combined.
Stroke your hand along the salmon fillet to check for any stray bones. If you find any, pull them out with a pair of tweezers or small pliers.
To skin the salmon fillet, lay the fish skin-side down with the tail end closest to you. Insert your knife at an angle at the tail end and cut through the flesh to the skin. Turn the blade (away from you) so it’s almost flat against the skin, then take hold of the skin with the other hand. Pull and wiggle the skin towards you, as push the knife away from you, cutting the fillet away. Use kitchen paper to grab the skin for a better grip. Discard the skin.
Trim away the thinner part, plus any fat around the edges, so that the fillet has an even shape.
Scatter about a third of the salt mix onto a large tray in a line about the size of the salmon fillet. Lay the salmon, skinned-side down, over the salt and pack the rest of the salt on top. Cover the fish with waxed paper and then cover the tray with cling film. Put another tray on top and weigh it down with a few cans or an empty casserole dish. Leave in the fridge overnight, for at least 10 hrs.
Under cold running water, wash the salt mix off the salmon fillet, then dry with kitchen paper. Finely chop the dill. Lay the salmon on a board and cover with the dill, pressing it down to pack it onto the salmon.
If serving as a plated starter, use a sharp carving knife to cut the salmon straight down into fine slices, allowing 5-6 slices for each plate.
To make the horseradish cream, whisk together the cream and crème fraîche. Add the horseradish, lemon juice and seasoning, then continue to whisk until thick.
In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil and lemon juice well and dress the salad leaves with enough dressing that they just glisten - don't over dress!
To plate up, arrange a neat pile of dressed baby salad leaves in the centre of each plate. Curl slices of the salmon into bow shapes around the leaves. Continue all the way around the plate in a petal fashion. Use 2 teaspoons to make small quenelles of horseradish cream and spoon each into each bowl.