The Slow Food movement has had a huge impact on what we include on our plates in the last several years. Slow foodies prefer locally-made specialty items lovingly grown, raised or made by families that love their craft and respect their ingredients.
While it’s easy to pop into the local super market and grab some packaged goods, slice them and throw them on a tray for your guests, it is far more satisfying to hear the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs of your guests as they sample your homemade slow cured delicacies. Creating your own specialty foods may take more work and time, but the difference will amaze you.
Along with making your own cured meats and fish there are a number of other great homemade specialty items that are easy to make and sure to impress. This week I am sharing a recipe for curing Gravlax, an item that many of you may love to eat but are intimidated to try making yourself. I am here to assure you that it’s not that hard and the results may surprise you. With a caring spirit and a little patience you can be serving this succulent delicacy at your next brunch. Enjoy!
1 2-3 pound side of salmon, skin on (fresh as you can find, if it is slightly bigger or smaller it’s okay)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
1 teaspoon cracked juniper berries (optional)
1 bunch fresh dill, minced (include stems)
1/4 cup smokey Scotch (I like Macallan 12 year, this is optional)
1 lemon sliced thin
In a mixing bowl combine salt, sugars, pepper, juniper and dill and set aside. Clean and trim your fish well making sure all pin bones are removed. Dry the fish off with paper towels and place it skin down on a sheet of plastic wrap three times larger than the fillet. Sprinkle lightly with your scotch and then coat generously with about a third of the salt/sugar mixture. Arrange 1/3 of the lemon slices on top of the salt/sugar mixture and wrap tightly with the plastic wrap. Place the fish skin side down in a glass baking dish larger than the fillet itself and place a board or second dish on top making sure the weight is all going onto the fillet. Refrigerate overnight or for about 6-8 hours. Remove the fish gently and rinse under cold water to remove the salt/sugar mixture.
Repeat steps 3-7 two additional times, checking it after the second by slicing a thin segment from the end of the thickest side straight down across the fillet. When the fish has firmed and is a translucent glassy texture it will be ready to serve.
Slice your lox as thin as you can get them and serve them on bagels with cream cheese or on toast points with capers and shallot any thing you come up with is sure to get great reviews.
Here are some great fish and seafood related events currently listed on Brown Paper Tickets:
Friday, February 15th – Monday, February 18th
FIELD & KITCHEN: Sustainable Food Methods from Source to Table – Sausalito, California
Saturday, February 16th – Sunday, April 7th
San Francisco Coastal Fishing/Foraging Tour With Kirk Lombard – San Francisco, California
Thursday, February 21st
Fish Cookery – Now We’re Cookin’ – Evanston, Illinois
Thursdays, June 20th – August 8th
Seafood Basics ~ Cooking Class – Lincolnville, Maine