Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gravlax Recipe

I love this dish and have achieved much success with skin-on sandwich of salmon enclosed with a mixing of salt 2/3 with 1/3 sugar with a generous portion of fine pieces of fennel which grows wild where I live in Berkeley and then more fennel on each side where the skin is. Then I sprinkle more salt outside the fennel before I wrap it so that it is completely surrounded with plenty of salt and fennel to seal the cure. This prevents undue saltiness because the salt-sugar mixed with the fennel is next to the flesh.

Then wrapping with plastic wrap works fine and then into a glass baking oblong. I then take another glass baking oblong of the same dimension and place it upside down on top of everything and weight it with a brick (or once with an antique flat iron) once the weight is in the upper oblong, mash it uniformly to facilitate slicing later on. Refrigerate it. Turn it when ever you think of it and in 2 days it is done. The salty brine mixture facilitates the cure by drawing water out of the fish and the sugar takes the bite of the salt. The only pure salt is outside the skin and intermingled with the fennel while remaining away from the flesh. It gets pretty wetly briny and most of the bacteria have burst their placentas due to the salt induced osmosis and greatly compromised. If you want you can keep it in for another day that is OK too.

Slicing is important and must be as thin as humanly possible and at no more than a 15-20 degree angle so that you can achieve a piece that is razor thin and about 5 inches measured along the backbone. Be deft while separating the slice from the skin because the meat near the skin is more fragile.

A good piece of rough grain bread with a cardiac inducing smor of unsalted fresh butter will produce a delightful sensation you can feel in your ears. The second bite is sheer glutinous excess. It is really not necessary to obsess over keeping it, for it will be gone in short order.

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