Salmon Gravlax

cuisine Nordic
difficulty Moderate
season Year Round
serves 8

Ingredients for the fish

1 1/2 pound side of salmon, skin on 1 1/2 cups beets (peeled, trimmed, & grated) 3 tablespoons freshly grated or jarred horseradish 1/2 cup kosher salt 1/4 cup light brown sugar 1/4 cup vodka 1 lemon, zest and juice

For the sauce

4 ounces crème fraîche 1 tablespoon lemon juice Zest of one lemon 1 tablespoon freshly grated or jarred horseradish Freshly ground black pepper Chives

Directions

  1.  Line a QUARTER SHEET BAKING TRAY with plastic wrap leaving an 8” overhang on either end.
  2.  Stir the beets, horseradish, salt, sugar, vodka, lemon zest and juice together until thoroughly mixed together.
  3.  Place the salmon flesh side down on the prepared tray and rub a bit of the beet mixture on to the skin.
  4.  Turn the fish over and pat the remaining beet mixture evenly over the salmon making certain to cover the entire surface.
  5.  Fold the ends of the plastic wrap over the salmon and then cover the entire tray in plastic wrap. Stack another 1/4 sheet baking tray on top of the fish and weigh down with a heavy object such as a cast iron pot lid and refrigerate for 48 to 72 hours, depending on the thickness of the fish).
  6.  Once cured, unwrap the salmon, pour the juices down the sink, and gently rinse the fish to remove the rub.
  7.  Pat the fillet dry with a paper towel and tightly wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
  8.  To serve, use a long sharp knife to slice the salmon at an angle into strips (the skin should not be cut through but rather used to anchor the knife and make certain the slices of fish come off in long thin pieces).
  9.  Arrange the salmon on a serving board and pass the sauce.

for the sauce

  1.  Combine the crème fraîche, lemon zest & juice, & black pepper. Use kitchen scissors to snip a generous amount of chives into the sauce.

Kitchen Notes

Most fishmongers remove scales and pin bones from salmon during fish preparation but,  just in case, do request. Serve with bagels, a simple green salad of  sweet tender greens and mache, lettuce, toasted rye bread or toasted sourdough, and slices of lemon. For a more traditional gravlax, add a whole bunch of chopped dill to the dry rub and substituted dill for the chives in the sauce.