Makes 6-8 first course or luncheon servings.
2 ½ dozen cocktail servings.
Gravlax is a great Scandinavian traditional delicacy where raw salmon is cured to a silky texture. I was recently at a family wedding in Switzerland and was served a delicious gravlax, which inspired me to revise my original recipe. In this revised version, I use skinned salmon, which allows me to cut the salmon easily into any size, depending on which course I’m serving. I no longer cut it like smoked salmon. Summer is the perfect time for this dish since we are in the middle of wild salmon season. When I serve it as a first course or as a luncheon course I like to serve it with cucumber salad and potato salad.
- 1 ½ pounds center cut wild salmon fillets skinned. You will have 2 pieces, each weighing ¾ pounds so you can put one on top of the other.
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ bunch fresh dill, including stems, cut into 2–inch pieces
MUSTARD DILL SAUCE
- 4 generous tablespoons honey mustard
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10 dill sprigs, snipped finely with scissors
TO CURE THE SALMON
- Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the fish.
- Place the cut dill between the layers. Place in a nonreactive dish large enough to hold it.
- Cover the dish with wax paper, then foil. Place a cutting board on top of the foil and weigh it down with a heavy object, such as a pot filled with cans. It’s important to weigh it down with something heavy, so don’t skip this step!
- Refrigerate it for 3-4 days. Once a day, turn the fish over. Re-cover and replace the weights each time. Once in a while pour off the accumulated liquid.
TO MAKE THE SAUCE
- Place mustards and vinegar into a bowl. In a very slow stream, whisk in the oil.
- Add the snipped dill. Transfer to jar and refrigerate.
This sauce can be prepared a few days ahead, but be sure to add more fresh dill when serving (dill is a delicate herb that loses its aroma quickly).
Place the salmon on a cutting board. Unfold the fillets. Scrape off the curing mixture and trim any brown skin. Use a sharp knife to cut the fish to the size you like. I like to cut the fillets into about 1” wide and about 3” long rectangles.
You can serve the fish on a platter with the sauce in a sauceboat with different salads on the side (such as cucumber and potato). Or you can preplate the fish with the sauce on the bottom and the salads of your choice on the side.
Cocktails can be served on tiny crackers, cucumbers or endives and garnished with a little sauce.
Any leftover fish and sauce freezes well. Wrap the fish in wax paper then foil and place it in a plastic container. It is best to defrost the fish overnight in the refrigerator. That holds true for all defrosting.