Gravlax Tutorial

Gravlax Tutorial

Postby grisell » Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:44 pm

Gravlax is an internationally acclaimed Swedish specialty. It's salmon cured with salt, sugar and lots of fresh dill. It is always served cold, as an appetizer or on bread.

It's essential to use only the best and freshest salmon available. The quality of the salt is equally important. Use only high-quality, unrefined sea salt. If using wild salmon, it should be deep frozen for a few days before consumption in order to eliminate parasites (nowadays, freezing is recommended for farmed salmon as well). It's more practical to freeze the salmon after curing, since it doesn't have to be frozen twice (if everything isn't eaten at once).

I have made gravlax when working in some of Sweden's best restaurants, so I feel confident that I hereby can present to you a completely reliable recipe. Nowadays, lots of varieties have popped up; with dark sugar, whisky, beets and even with blueberries(!). The only thing that varies in the original recipe is the ratio salt/sugar. It ranges between 1 part salt to 2 parts sugar and 2 parts salt to 1 part sugar. I prefer the latter, since I don't want the salmon too sweet.


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I use fresh, farmed Norwegian salmon fillet. This one weighed 1.96 kg.

Use a pair of pliers to remove all the bones. Leave the skin on. Rinse the fillet only if it's not extremely fresh and has started to smell (fresh fish has no smell at all, on the other hand, if it smells bad, it's too old and should not be used for gravlax).

Weigh the fillet and take a note. Cut it in half crosswise.

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This much dill is needed for 2 kilo salmon fillet. Only the stems are used. The leaves can be saved for something else, for instance for the classic gravlax sauce (see below).

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Chop the dill stems. Mix with:

For each 1 kilo fillet:

40 g sea salt
20 g white (caster) sugar
2 tsp white pepper, coarsley ground
1 tsp dill seeds (optional)

and crush to a paste in a mortar or food processor.

Image

Place one piece, skin down, in a stainless steel or glass tray. Cover with most of the paste and put the second piece on top. Spread the rest of the paste on top and around the fish. Cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and put a weight on top.

Cure for 72 hours in a temperature between 0 and 4 C (32-39F), the lower the better. Turn the fish twice a day. Do not pour off the liquid that forms.

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Now discard the liquid. Rinse the fillets quickly and scrape off all the spices and dill. Slice the gravlax the way you prefer. I prefer big, thin slices parallell to the skin, while others prefer cubes or thick slices perpendicular to the skin. It's really only a matter of preference. The left skin can be cut in pieces, brushed with oil and broiled on the grill. It's considered an exclusive delicacy.

Pack and freeze the salmon for three days. Small packages of gravlax are practical to have in the freezer.

Thaw in the refrigerator and serve ice cold. The classic sauce is gravlax sauce, recipe here: http://forum.sausagemaking.org/viewtopic.php?t=8582 .

I prefer it like this, though, on bread with butter, a dill sprig, lemon and some extra salt and pepper only.

Image

Gravlax will keep for about one week in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.
André

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Postby DanMcG » Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:08 pm

very nice tutorial André, thanks!
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gravlax

Postby dorsets21 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:35 pm

:oops: can i cold smoke it after the curing for an hour or two would make it even better or not 8)
ask the question? where does my food come from
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Postby grisell » Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:04 am

Yes, but then it's smoked salmon and not gravlax. :wink:

No, seriously, why not? It would probably turn out delicious. :D
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Postby Ryan C » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:04 am

Thanks Andre, great post :D

I'll bookmark this one :D

All the best

Ryan
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Postby wheels » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:05 pm

Many thanks - interesting about just using the stalks. Did you fillet the salmon? If so, nice job!

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Postby grisell » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:45 pm

wheels wrote:Many thanks - interesting about just using the stalks. Did you fillet the salmon? If so, nice job!

Phil


No, it was bought that way. It was on sale for only £8 a kilo (the normal price is double that). Totally fresh, and they had even removed the small bones, which is unusual. Unfortunately, that was only that week, but the fillet is usually worth its price even for £16 a kilo IMO.

The reason for only using the stalks is actually because there isn't much else they can be used for, and that the major part of what you pay for consists of the stalks. The leaves can be used for something else or frozen (of course, nothing stops you from using the leaves in the cure too).
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Postby SausageBoy » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:53 pm

Looks delicious!
I love salmon!


:)
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Postby wheels » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:59 pm

Many thanks

Phil
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Re: gravlax

Postby javu » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:02 pm

dorsets21 wrote::oops: can i cold smoke it after the curing for an hour or two would make it even better or not 8)

Gravlax and cold smoked salmon are both extremely popular in Finland. Texture is quite different.
So go ahead, you won't be disappointed.

We don't freeze salmon when making gravlax, I'm pretty sure that salmon does not have parasites that could be transferred to humans (like pike does, for example). Just use freshest possible fish.
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Re: gravlax

Postby wheels » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:13 pm

javu wrote:...I'm pretty sure that salmon does not have parasites that could be transferred to humans (like pike does, for example). Just use freshest possible fish.


You are correct, at least for the UK/EU; the rules that required freezing have been relaxed:

http://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/new ... SZxax3eG1E

HTH

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Re: gravlax

Postby vagreys » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:38 pm

javu wrote:...We don't freeze salmon when making gravlax, I'm pretty sure that salmon does not have parasites that could be transferred to humans (like pike does, for example). Just use freshest possible fish.

Not so in wild-caught fish and even in farmed fish in some waters. Notice that the relaxation of the rules is very narrow in scope (farmed fish) and location (around Scotland). The nematode (roundworm) Anisakis is particularly prevalent in salmon, cod, herring and other fish in Scandinavian and North Sea waters (other than Scotland, apparently), the Netherlands, Japan and along the Pacific coast of South America. In a study out of Seattle, 100% of wild-caught salmon in the Puget Sound region carry roundworm larvae, which survive light cures such as gravlax, and transmit to humans, causing Anisakiasis. Salmon may also carry trematode flukes (Clonorchis sinensis) and cestode tapeworms (Diphyllobothrium), moreso than some ocean fish, due to the time they spend in low-salt/brackish/fresh water.

To eliminate the risk of these parasites in raw preparations, USDA guidelines recommend that the fish must be flash frozen at -35°C (-31°F) for at least 15 hours, or held at -20°C (-4°F) for at least 7 days. To kill the larvae in cooked preparations, the fish needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 60°C (140°F).
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Re: Gravlax Tutorial

Postby wheels » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:48 pm

Thanks Vagreys - I've amended my post to make it clear that I was referring to the UK/EU.

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Re: Gravlax Tutorial

Postby Davea » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:22 am

I bought 2 kg salmon from Morissons a couple of weeks ago at £6.49 kg and made some gravlax as per the tutorial.
Served on some buttered brown bread with black pepper & lemon juice It's absolutely delicious.
Thanks Grisell,
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Re: Gravlax Tutorial

Postby Laripu » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:25 am

I do something very similar: pet pound of salmon, I use:
2 tablespoons sea salt or kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 capfull of gin
dill, sufficient to cover

Wrap well with cling wrap, two or three times, and let it cure in the fridge for 3 days. In a container, because it will leak.

Remove. Rinse well, soak 3 times for 10 minutes each time.

Cold smoke for 3 or 4 hours. (I use the ProQ device from the UK...nice little device, uses sawdust.)

Wrap and allow to rest in the fridge overnight. The next morning, slice and eat with either NYC bagels or Montreal bagels. Or garnish with capers and eat with bland crackers. Or garnish with more dill.
Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen. - Heinrich Heine.
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