Cured Salmon

beetroot cured salmon

The vibrancy of colour, taste, texture and wow factor that cured salmon has is difficult to beat.

This isn’t just gravadlax though. There are other ways apart from the classic Scandinavian approach but we should deal with that 1st.

Gravadlax or grave salmon, (the grave comes from old norse “to dig” and the lax is salmon (also think Lox as in bagel and lox) is a classic Scandinavian dish.

The classic recipe if you are going to do it will involve burying the fish in the ground with a rock on top to stop it being taken by marauding bears and wolves.

I suggest a more modern approach as its so easy and adaptable.

The basis of course is curing the fish to preserve it. This involves pulling the moisture out which in turn amplifies the flavour and firms up the texture.

To keep it simple the cure I use is a 3:2 salt to sugar cure. This can be varied for a salt:sweet balance but I find this ratio works well if using a granular sea salt. using fine table salt will be much saltier and isn’t recommended.

Other flavours can be added and creativity is your friend here. Dill is the classic as is pepper.

I like to use thinly sliced beetroot to wrap the salmons it gives a deep flavour and colour.

There are lots of instructions out there on methods and how to. I recommend https://brainfoodstudio.com/recipes/how-to-make-gravadlax/ and of course the perfect Felicity Cloake approach https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2015/jan/07/how-to-make-perfect-gravadlax-cured-salmon-recipe

Once made its versatile to serve. Thinly sliced with rye crackers or dark bread, with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives. Add some whole grain mustard to some mayo, chop some cornichons and capers. With a potato salad and watercress. Or go the lox option and sliced on a bagel.

Another way of curing is even more simple using a salt block. Got one as a present and it looked pretty but I didn’t really know what to do! I had some fresh salmon trimmings from breaking down a whole fish so thought I would give it a go.

Washed the surface, put the chunks of salmon on to it. In the fridge for 15mins. turned them over. further 15 mins then tasted.

Somewhere between sushi and tartare, still a taste of raw but with a firmer texture and very subtle brininess. Fortunately I had some freshly lightly pickled kohl rabi in the fridge and some wild garlic foraged that morning. A bit of sour cream with chopped wild garlic and some sushi ginger (maybe I got cross cultural in my excitement!)

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Salt block “cooking”. 15 minutes each side was perfect.
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Salt block salmon on wild garlic with pickled kohl rabi and ginger