Many months ago, I’d seen a recipe for gravlox, or cured salmon, on a blog somewhere, and have kept the idea in the back of my mind ever since. I’m fortunate enough to live near the Copper River during the summer, which is one of the best places to get sockeye salmon (also called Copper River Reds). So, every year, as long as I’m fortunate enough to have some luck while dipnetting, or have a friend with surplus fish, I’m able to can & freeze enough salmon to enjoy year round.
Joe & I often make sushi throughout the winter, which is always a wonderful treat, but I was definitely intrigued by this new way of eating raw salmon. Raw meat is a food that has been enjoyed by most cultures around the world, in different forms for hundreds and thousands of years – steak tartare in France, kibbeh from Middle East, carpaccio from Italy, and various other marinated fish dishes. Being raw, it’s much easier for the body to digest, not being damaged by the cooking process. Of course, if you’re gonna eat any meat or fish raw, know your source! I only eat wild game and wild salmon, both of which are, naturally, organic, and so when I eat them raw, I don’t have to worry about what may be lurking inside them. It’s also important to make sure the meat has been frozen for at least 14 days to kill any parasites; for fish, marinating in an acidic solution does the same trick.
I’m so glad I finally got around to making gravlox! It was a delicious treat, and so simple to make. We enjoyed it for Easter along with the teff pancakes and cashew cream I wrote about last post – the combination was mind blowing. Really wonderful.
Gravlox (cured salmon)
adapted from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon
about 1 pound salmon fillet, fresh or frozen, with skin on
2 Tbsp sea salt
2 Tbsp evaporated cane sugar, or Rapadura
2 Tbsp whey (or use an additional 2 Tbsp salt)
1 bunch of fresh dill, snipped
Using pliers, remove any small bones in the fish. Rinse well, and pat dry. Mix together the salt and sweetener, and rub thoroughly into the flesh side of the salmon. Place in a ziploc bag, sprinkle with whey and top with dill. Close the bag, squeezing out as much as air as possible, and refrigerate for at least 2 days, or up to 6 (I only went for 2). Weigh some heavy objects on the salmon (books, or a brick) to help with the absorption of the marinade.
To serve, remove from bag and rinse gently to remove salt and sugar. Pat dry with a paper towel. Slice thinly, scraping the skin clean (you could also skin the whole fillet, but I have a hard time doing that without losing some of the fatty layer right next to the skin). Serve with Teff Pancakes & Cashew Cream, or with sourdough bread, or individually with some lemon juice.