Here’s a recipe for that can be used for Christmas – we use it all the year round. I prefer Gravlax to smoked salmon – it’s cheaper and very moreish. I always wait until the salmon is on special at one of the supermarkets – usually Friday for Waitrose, Sainsbury’s etc
A great accompaniment to gravlax is pickled blackberries (I have included the recipe below). Best to pickle the blackberries a few days before using and remember to factor in the time it takes for the salmon to cure. Try and pickle the blackberries a few days before you intend to serve them, and remember to allow a good length of time for the fish to cure.
It will take about 15 minutes to prepare and 2-4 days curing time (I usually go more towards the 4 days). The cured salmon will last for up to a week.
- 2kg tail piece of salmon, in two halves, filleted but skin left on
- 100ml vodka
- 100g granulated sugar
- 100g sea salt flakes – NOTE MUST BE SEA SALT!
- 2 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
- Large bunch coriander, chopped (leaves only)
- Large bunch dill, roughly chopped (leaves only)
- Ensure all bones have been removed by rubbing your hand along both pieces of fish on the flesh side. Pull out any you find with tweezers.
- Line a roasting tin, big enough to hold the salmon, with a double layer of foil. Put one of the pieces of salmon, skin-side down, into the tin and pour on half the vodka.
- Mix the sugar, salt and pepper and the herbs together and spread over the salmon. Pour on the rest of the vodka and put the other piece of salmon on top, skin-side facing up.
- Pull the foil up round the fish and make a sealed parcel. Then put something heavy on top (I use a chopping board, weighted down with tins – 4 packs of Heinz beans work well). Leave in the fridge to cure for 2-4 days (the longer, the better) turning every so often. Liquid will seep out of the salmon in this time – just pour it off.
- Remove the foil and scrape the cure off the fish. To serve, slice just as you would smoked salmon (though you can do it more thickly). Use as you need it and keep it, wrapped, in the fridge. You need to use it within a week.
- Serve with the pickled blackberries below, along with sour cream into which you’ve stirred chopped coriander and dill.
Preparation takes 2 minutes, cooking takes 15 minutes. Will make a 500ml jar.
- 300ml cider vinegar
- 450g granulated sugar
- 1 small dried chilli
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 8 juniper berries, lightly crushed
- 450g blackberries
- Put the vinegar, sugar, spices and juniper berries into a saucepan and heat slowly, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Bring to the boil then cook until it reduces and looks slightly syrupy (it will thicken more as it cools, remember, so don’t take it too far). Leave to cool.
- Put the blackberries into a sterilised jar with a vinegar-proof lid. (To sterilise the jar, just wash it or put it through the dishwasher then put it in an oven preheated to 150C for 20 minutes or so).
Pour the cooled vinegar syrup over the berries – it must cover them completely – and close with the lid. Leave for about 3 days before eating. If you are going to use the berries within 5 days, there is no need to keep them in a sterilised jar – just put them into a dish, cover and keep them in the fridge.
© Mzungu 2019
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