Friday 25 October 2013

Glorious Gravlax!

Over the last few years I have been experimenting with curing and preserving meats.  I always thought that this was really difficult, or complicated, or possibly dangerous to eat - how wrong could I be! The first project was home cured bacon, which was totally delicious, then last Christmas I tried making cured salmon for the first time, adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver.  It was delicious!

The ingredients!

I decided to try making it again to have as part of a rolling finger food buffet at our Post-Thesis Partay next weekend! We adapted the recipe a bit, increasing the amount of beetroot and salmon and changing the method slightly, but it still turned out as beautiful, cured, pink-tinged salmon fillet. Amended recipe is at the end of this post!
The cure mix (without the beetroot)
The Post-Thesis Partay has become a bit of a tradition amongst my friends.  It was started by Checks quite a few years ago - when he finished his Honours thesis, he invited us over to eat Thesis Steak, which is steak marinated in a mixture of soy, sugar, shallots and sugar, and then barbecued.  So tasty! 

The salmon sitting on half the cure, waiting for the other half!
This year we have at least 5 people who have finished Honours or PhD theses, so a mass party was in order! People are coming to our house throughout the afternoon and evening (as prior commitments allow) and we'll be eating, drinking, playing games and chuckling heartily.

The salmon buried in cure, ready for pressing in the fridge
Because people are coming and going, rather than having a "meal" together, we are going to have various rounds of finger food! Morsels of thesis steak, cheese, gravlax, bread, dip... The details aren't decided yet, but I'm looking forward to it!

The finished, cured salmon, ready for eating!
Fortunately my lovely husband indulges all of my crazy food ideas (cheesemaking kit anyone?), and he helped me put all this together and finish it off this morning, covering himself in salty beetroot juice in the process! The finished product is much firmer texture than the raw salmon fillet, and the beetroot and dill mix surrounding it has coloured the edges of the salmon a glorious pink. We shall enjoy it with a lemony sour cream sauce, on thin toast! 

Without further ado, the recipe!

Glorious Pink Gravlax
(adapted from Jamie Oliver's Gorgeous Beetroot Gravlax


1.2kg side of salmon, skinless and pinboned
160g rock salt
50g brown sugar
800g raw beetroot, grated
50ml vodka
Dill, chopped
1 lemon, zested 


Mix together cure ingredients (probably wearing gloves, as the beetroot gets very messy! Spread half the mix in a large Pyrex or ceramic baking dish, place the salmon on top, and pack the rest of the mix on top of the salmon.

Place a large tray, baking dish or chopping board on top of the salmon and fill with weights (I used law textbooks - I knew they'd come in handy again!). Leave in the fridge for 2-3 days to cure.

When you're ready to get it out, scrape all the cure off the salmon and dry it well with paper towel.  Cut very thinly, and enjoy! 


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