Gravlax love

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TASTE -

IT’S re­ally easy to make your own gravlax (pro­nounced grav-lox). Un­like the old days in Scan­di­navia where the fish is buried in the ground and left to fer­ment for months – dur­ing which time it de­vel­ops a strong odour – mod­ern gravlax can be made in two days in the re­frig­er­a­tor and has a clean and fresh taste.

The most ef­fi­cient way to make gravlax is to use a whole salmon – place the two sim­i­larly-sized fil­lets against each other with the dill and the salt mix in be­tween and cov­er­ing the sides thickly.

The fin­ished gravlax has a briny (not salty) taste and a but­tery, meltin-your-mouth tex­ture. The cur­ing process will cause the fish to stiffen up a bit and turn it a vi­brant ver­mil­lion. This recipe is the one I learnt from the French Culi­nary School in Asia. — JulieWong

Salmon Gravlax

fil­lets with a pair of tweez­ers.

Com­bine the salt, su­gar and crushed berries or pep­per­corns. Line a tray with cling film with­out cut­ting the film yet. Sprin­kle the bot­tom of the tray gen­er­ously with cur­ing mix. Place a salmon fil­let skin side down on the tray. Cover with a thick layer of cur­ing mix.

Place the dill on the salmon and place the other salmon fil­let on top, skin side up. Cover with the re­main­ing cur­ing mix. Bring the cling film up and wrap the salmon well in sev­eral lay­ers. Re­frig­er­ate for 24 hours. Flip over and re­frig­er­ate another 24 hours.

To serve: Re­move the dill and scrape off the salt; pat dry with a pa­per towel. Slice the gravlax thinly on the bias, leav­ing the skin be­hind.

Serv­ing sug­ges­tions: Serve gravlax as it is, with dill and le­mon wedges, or with crème fraîche or sour cream, pick­led onion and slices of hard-boiled egg, shrimps and salmon roe.

Stor­age: Wrapped in plas­tic and re­frig­er­ated, gravlax will keep for 3-4 days.

Tips: As a rough guide, for ev­ery 500g of salmon, al­low 2 ta­ble­spoons (30g) salt, 1 ta­ble­spoon (30g) su­gar and a bunch of dill. To cure smaller cuts of salmon, re­duce the cur­ing mix and time. A thin cut of salmon, or a cut weigh­ing less than 500g, need only to be mar­i­nated for 12 hours.

Test for done­ness by tast­ing a small slice. Gravlax should not be overly salty – while the orig­i­nal pur­pose of salt­ing raw salmon was to pre­serve it, to­day salt is only used as a sea­son­ing. A longer cure will pro­duce a stronger flavour and a drier tex­ture.

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