Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gravadlax for Easter

Easter arrives at the end of this week and Easter Sunday is a feast day. We will start lunch with a side of cured salmon and the process began today.

Once you have your salmon fillets you have to remove the pinbones. You really need tweezers for this and it is indeed one of those culinary labours of love. You know that if you don’t do your best your daughter will be the one that gets the bones – she always gets the bones, or the shot, or, with a bit of luck, the sixpence in the Christmas Pudding.
If you feel along between the backbone and the edge of the fillet, on the thick side, your fingers will find the little sharp bones and you can pull them out with the tweezers.


2 salmon fillets
100g salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp white pepper
4 tsp allspice
4 tbsp vodka (or brandy, or gin)
2 bunches dill - chopped

Take out the pinbones from the salmon as above. Mix all the other ingredients except the dill.
Strew the base of a glass or ceramic dish with dill, lay the first fillet on top and rub well with the brine mixture. Strew more dill on top and repeat process with second fillet, laying it on top of the first in the opposite direction. Scatter remaining dill over all.

Cover everything with plastic wrap, not aluminium foil, put a board on top and weight down. Refrigerate for two or three days, turning regularly and basting with the brine. Taste at end of second day and if the fish is bland increase the salt/vodka.

Finally, pour off the brine and either use the cured salmon or refrigerate until needed – the fish will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

You could serve this with dill mustard sauce, but I was thinking wasabi.

I’ll let you know how it comes along.


Lynn D. said...

Ah, yes, the bones! My son always got the bones. In fact when he was quite small, he maintained that there were bones in the banana I gave him. Maybe to avoid the bones, he has been an ovo-lacto vegetarian since the age of 8, with a little time off between 10 and 13 because he was going through such a growth spurt. He's now 22. He was even a vegetarian in Ireland if you can imagine it. Thank goodness for Indian take-away. He is an enthusiastic and appreciative eater however, and Easter will be an extravaganza of fava beans, asparagus, goat and sheep cheese with perhaps a rhubarb crumble. Ah, spring!

June said...

Beetroot - dont forget sweet crunchy die-your-insides beetroot, especially with the cheese. My daughter with the bone aversion also avoids dairy and the house is now filling up with goats milk and Manchego cheese and Roquefort in anticipation - golly, they have good taste these dairy avoiders!

You can be a vegetarian without too much trouble in Ireland - as long as you like Guinness!

lindy said...

I have never made this, but aspire to do so-preferably soon. I like the idea of wasabi a lot.

My vegetarian daughter had a bit of a time finding (nontortilla) food to eat in Spain for a conference. She contends that ham is used as if it were salt, to season every other egg, cheese or veg. dish in the national repetoire.

Personally, I was quite happy eating there.

June said...

I have spent today running around this part of Somerset looking for wasabi - a dearth of wasabi is in evidence. I think I am going to have to go to Bath, goodness, a real city!

Spain is a bit of a no-go area for vegetarians I understand. The Blog is going on the road after Easter to Barcelona and will investigate.

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