Now for something totally different. A friend asked me yesterday for some recipes. Food that we eat. She said her family is sick of the same old same old so she is looking for something different.
I flooded her inbox with lots. She may be sorry she asked! There is one recipe I thought I’d share with you all out there in the blogosphere. I’ve not made it often. And now I wonder why because it is so yummy.
It is DIY Gravlax. Now some people think it is raw fish. No, it is not. It is cured fish. Think pickling and you’re on the right track. This fish is cured or ‘cooked’ if you prefer to think of it that way, with sugar, salt and herbs. My dad used to make it often. He was a great lover of fish, having been born, bred and grown up in Finland. There was nothing he enjoyed more than fish, every which way – caught fresh was best of course. Contrary to convention, he never threw any fish back that he caught. It was cleaned, cooked and eaten. In Australia fishing trips were a great highlight for him. When living in Tasmania he joined other Finns on fishing trips into the wilderness. On the mainland, he was known to travel with friends to the Snowy Mountains to fish for rainbow trout. In retirement, he would go with a mate in the dingy and fish off the coast of Queensland.
So, how did he make his own gravlax? He started with a generous sized side of salmon. Sliced it very thinly on an angle. Then he layered it into a casserole dish. Between each layer he sprinkled a dousing of salt and sugar. Covered the top with alfoil or clingfilm. And added a heavy weight on top to weigh it all down. Refrigerate. Checked it to see how it’s doing.
Should be ready for eating the next day.
The next step of course, is to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Serve it with sourdough rye bread. Gherkins, pickled beetroot sour cream, boiled eggs, caviar, capers are all good accompaniments.
If you can get Finncrisp, all the better, It is a very thin sourdough rye cracker made in Finland. I can buy it here in a few outlets. On it’s own it is awesome with cheese and gherkins.
If you want to make the gravlax a bit more upmarket, you can make a vodka version. Just lightly drizzle vodka between the layers. You can also add herbs like dill, white pepper into the sugar/salt mix. Or lemon zest, juice. Even beetroot to give it a special ruby red blush.
You don’t have to use a whole side of salmon. You can make as much or as little as you like. The ratio of sugar/salt is 50:50 based on half the weight of the piece of fish you use.
Still not sure? Check out this version by Gordon Ramsay.