Hi, Friends! When I sat down at my kitchen counter to think about what I wanted to share with you all this week I tried to think about what I’ve been making on repeat in our kitchen. Today’s recipe is a little out of left field but not. It’s something you may have not heard of before but have eaten something very similar. In true Janine fashion, it looks very fancy and is incredibly easy to make, it lasts up to two weeks so leftovers are amazing and per usual, I’ve tweaked the traditional recipe a bit to make it even more delicious while maintaining its true taste. So question…what’s healthy, delicious, beautiful when presented, easy to make and inexpensive? Janine’s Gravlax!
If you’re not familiar, Gravlax comes traditionally from Scandinavia. It is a raw salmon filet marinated in a crust of coarse salt, sugar, herbs (traditionally dill and parsley) and vodka. In Denmark and Norway, it is sometimes marinated with other spices, beet puree, aquavit, vodka or cognac, and pink berries. It takes 72 hours to cure but man is it worth the wait. I know what you’re thinking, it sounds complicated. Rest assured it is not.
I mentioned above that if you haven’t had Gravlax before, you may have had something very similar. That’s because gravlax is closely related to lox and smoked salmon, two delicious foods that you’ve probably heard more frequently. While all delicious and similar in look, Gravlax, lox and smoked salmon are all different. Lox is never cooked, comes from the salmon’s belly and is brined differently than Gravlax. Gravlax is similar but the brine is more complex and varies from place to place and smoked salmon can come from any part of the fish and is of course…smoked!
I started making Gravlax because my family craved smoked salmon all the time! That craving got very expensive to say the least and I had to figure out an alternative. This is when I decided to make my own Gravlax as I knew it did not need to be smoked and I always loved the luscious flavor and texture of Gravlax. My results were outstanding! It was beyond simple to make. I even substituted gin for vodka and the results were out of this world!
Since Covid19 started, I’ve been making Gravlax for my family weekly! It seems fancy but is very hearty and delicate at the same time. We love putting our Gravlax on sourdough bread but I also love it on my beloved seeded crackers! It can be put on omelets, in salads, whatever you like. And, it’s full of Omega 3’s and protein so it’s fulfilling and nourishing too!
When I first began researching Gravlax recipes I found that many used loads of salt and sugar and if you’ve been following along with me here for a while you know that that’s a no-go for me. So, I cut that way back and the results were just as perfect. I tend to use fresh salmon for best results but frozen is just as good (just make sure it’s completely thawed before getting to work)!
It makes me so happy to share the recipes that my family loves the most with all of you. I hope that if this is something that you’ve never tried before that you do so and LOVE it, and if you have, I would love to hear your spin on one of my family’s favorite dishes. You know where to find me! Happy, healthy cooking! XX Janine
Ingredients: (Takes 3 days (72 hours) to cure in the refrigerator)
2 pound fillet Salmon (I keep the skin on) – rinsed and dried well with paper towel
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup dill – chopped
2 Tablespoons Gin (or Vodka)
Pepper to taste
Non reactive large dish to put the cured salmon in for 3 days – porcelain or glass are good to use.
In a medium bowl, add the kosher salt, sugar, dill and Gin (or vodka), mix well until all ingredients are combined.
Place a few pieces of plastic wrap on the bottom of the non reactive large dish and place the salmon on top of the plastic wrap – skin side down.
Take half the mixture and spread it onto the top of the salmon – press it well into the salmon – and it’s sides too.
Carefully turn (flip) the salmon over, now skin side up and put the remaining mixture on top of the skin and all over the sides again.
Cover the Salmon in more plastic wrap and wrap up the sides of the salmon to make a tight package (tuck the plastic tightly under the salmon) – as best as you can.
Place a small board or metal pan lid on top of the salmon, then place 3 cans on the board or lid to press the salmon down.
Put the salmon in the refrigerator for 3 days – flipping the salmon over once a day.
After 3 days – rinse the salmon under cool water for a few minutes to remove the dill. Pat dry well. Leave it uncovered in the refrigerator (in the dish) up to 6 hours to dry out even more.
To store – cover well in plastic wrap and put into an airtight container. Can be eaten up to 2 weeks after being made. Slice thin with a sharp knife.