I’m at Cohoe Beach, Cook Inlet and my local friend Brian Chase caught a wild sockeye salmon for this stunning GRAVAD LAX recipe. This traditional Scandinavian recipe is often served at Christmas dinners! Making gravad lax takes a bit of time, but isn’t complicated. And the rich tasting results are definitely worth it!
Place the salmon fillet on a board, skin-side up. Slice away a small piece of skin the size of a coin, leaving a circular nick in the skin to reveal the flesh below. Repeat this 3-4 times along the fillet; this allows the juices to run out of the fish while it is salting.
Turn the fish over and remove any pin bones with fish tweezers. Line a baking tray with cling film and place the fish on it, skin-side down.
Roughly grind 1 tablespoon each of the coriander and fennel seeds with all the peppercorns in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar; you want the spices to have some texture. Combine with the salt, sugar, vodka, and lemon zest, then add half of the dill and all the parsley.
Spread the mixture over the fillet and press down. Wrap the cling film around and over the top of the fillet. Place another baking tray on top and weigh it down with weights, jars or tins. Leave in the fridge for 8-10 hours.
Unwrap the fish and scrape off the marinade with your fingers. Rinse the fish under cold running water to get rid of the salt and grains, then pat it dry with kitchen paper.
Coarsely crush the remaining fennel and coriander seeds.
Combine them with the remaining chopped dill and scatter over the salmon fillet, pressing the herbs into the flesh. Chill, wrapped in cling film, until ready to serve.
To make the dill crème fraîche, place half the dill in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt and pound together to make a green purée. Mix with the crème fraîche, mustard and vinegar, and season well with salt and black pepper. stir the remaining dill into the mixture.
Cut very thin slices from the fish, starting at the tail end. As you cut them, lay the slices on a piece of greaseproof paper and cover with another sheet. Using a rolling pin, gently tap the slices to get them as thin as possible.
Arrange the slices on individual plates and serve splashed with a little bit of the dill crème fraîche.
- 700-1000 kg side of (preferably wild) salmon, scaled and filleted, skin on
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp black pepper corns
- 4 tbsp coarse sea salt
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp vodka
- zest of one lemon
- 1 handful of fresh dill, chopped
- 4 sprigs of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 100 gr crème fraîche
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper