Carolyn from 18th Century Cuisine is hosting "Cooking the old fashioned way - AKA Disaster Preparedness" event. Who says you need electricity and gas to cook? Salt will do in a pinch. I know this does not exactly look like a disaster preparedness type of dish, but if you ignore the fancy presentation, it's quite practical. Gravlax is Swedish cured salmon. Although no heating method is involved, the fish is "cooked" or preserved with salt and sugar. I didn't use as much salt as traditional Gravlax since I was planning to store the fish in the fridge and consume it in a few days, but in case of a real disaster, it would stay just fine without refrigeration if more salt was used for the cure.
Inspired by Stephen's post (from stephencooks.com) about "Gravblue," bluefish cured gravlax style, I decided to try it with sweet and buttery sable (also known as black cod or butterfish). It turned out incredibly well, but I am not sure if I'd pay $15/Lb for sable next time, when salmon tastes as good for $10/Lb.
Once I was done with picture taking, I chucked the fancy presentation in favor of a good sandwich with cucumbers, sprouts, and guacamole.
2 identical center cut salmon fillets with the skin (2 Lb total)
1 Tbsp black pepper corns
1/4 cup sea or kosher salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cognac
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dill
- Remove any pin bones from salmon with needlenose pliers or tweezers.
- Put pepper corns into a small ziploc bag and crush by rolling them with a rolling pin or pressing on them with a heavy skillet.
- Mix salt, sugar, and crushed pepper corns.
- Rub both sides of fillets heavily with about half of the salt and sugar mixture. Sprinkle the remaining salt and sugar onto the flesh side of fillets. Sprinkle with cognac. Spread dill evenly over one fillet.
- Place the second fillet on top of the first one so that the flesh side of fillets is together, and the skin is outside. You should end up with a salmon dill sandwich. Place it in a large freezer ziploc bag, get as much air out as possible, and lock the bag.
- Put the bag with salmon in a pyrex or other shallow baking dish, place a cutting board, and then a heavy weight (5-8 Lb) on top of salmon. I use an old brick wrapped in foil.
- Refrigerate for 2 days turning the bag with salmon over every 12 hours.
- After 2 days, get the salmon out of the bag, rinse under cold water and dry with paper towels. Slice very thinly at 45 degree angle and serve.
Gravlax will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days, or you can freeze it for couple of months.