Dilled Gravlax

We love dill, be it in pickles, salads, or grilled seafood, but we especially love it on bagels and lox with all the fixings.  In this recipe we will not only show you how to use our fresh dill on your bagels and lox, we will also show you how to make your own dilled gravlax.

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You can NEVER use enough dill in the preparation of this Scandinavian gravlax. Gravlax, which literally means “to bury” as in the grave, was a method used by Scandinavian fishermen in the Middle Ages for fermenting or curing their catch; they would salt their fish then bury it in the sand above the high tide level.

As you will see in the photos below modern day gravlax is still “buried” but in a salt/sugar curing mixture and not sand.

Having said that, this preparation will take some time, three days to be exact, but your patience will be rewarded!

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Preparation Time:  30 minutes

Cooking (Curing) Time:  3 days

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs fresh or previously frozen Atlantic salmon (farmed) whole side less tail area
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill, leaf sections separated from stems but both retained
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup organic raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • Juice of 1+1 large lemons
  • 24 black peppercorns, whole (or cracked for stronger pepper flavor)
  • 12-18 juniper berries, crushed

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Preparation:

  • Wash and spin dry the fresh dill, separate the leaves from the stems, dice the stems into 1/4-1/2 long pieces; set both aside separately.
  • Crush the juniper berries; set aside.
  • Crack the black peppercorns if you want a lot of black pepper flavor, otherwise, leave whole; set aside.
  • Juice 1+1 lemons; set aside separately.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the salt, sugars, juniper berries, black peppercorns, diced dill stems, and juice of one lemon, mix well.
  • Preparing the salmon:
    • Retrieve your salmon from the fridge, gently wash under cold running water and pat dry with paper towel.
    • Place the salmon on a clean cutting board skin side up.
    • Using a sharp knife make 2 to 3 inch long cuts on the diagonal across the skin until you “just” penetrate the skin.  Do not cut deep into the flesh of the salmon.  The shallow cuts on the skin side will help the cure penetrate the skin side.
    • Drizzle the juice of one lemon on the flesh and skin sides of the salmon; set aside.

Curing:

Refer to the photos for the following steps:

  • Starting from the top left photo above:
  • Use a 9 inch by 11 inch, glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of the cure mixture onto the bottom, lay one-third of the dill leaves on top of the cure.
  • Lay the salmon, skin side down, onto the cure and dill leaf bottom layer.
  • Spread the remaining dill leaves on top of the salmon.
  • Spoon the rest of the cure over the salmon covering as much of the salmon as possible, including the sides.
  • Lay a layer of plastic wrap on top of the cure covered salmon; making sure it is right up against the cure.
  • Place a smaller, glass baking dish on top of the layer of plastic wrap.  (This is to apply pressure onto the cure covered salmon to help with the curing process.)
  • Place into the fridge for three days.
  • After three days retrieve the baking dish from the fridge, take the small glass baking dish off, remove the top layer of plastic wrap.
    • You will notice a lot of liquid.  This is the water that was in the salmon but was extracted during the curing process.  (The salt/sugar in the cure works to remove the water from the flesh of the salmon.)
  • Remove the salmon from the cure and gently wash the salmon of any excess cure mixture and dill leaves.
  • Pat dry both sides with clean and dry paper towels.
  • Your dilled gravlax is ready to slice and serve!
  • Wrap in parchment paper and store in the fridge.

Serve with your favorite bagels or rye bread, cream cheese (we love the light Neufchatel variety) or butter, sliced tomatoes (our cherry tomatoes here), thin slices of red onion, capers, and of course, some fresh dill!

Enjoy!

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