16 Jun 2011 Gravlax (sort of like Lox)

A few weeks ago my Aunt and I went on a seven day cruise to Alaska.  I spent most of the time reading while  looking out to sea and waiting for the next meal to be served, usually just a couple hour wait! It’s quite decadent to eat four multi-course meals a day (breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner) all chosen off a menu, all served by waiters, while sitting at tables set with linen, too much  silverware, and many glasses.  And after all that, the biggest thrill yet awaits.  The getting up from the table, without removing a plate, and walking out the door, with not one thought about cleaning up or storing leftovers.  Now THAT, was lovely.  I wouldn’t be opposed to a fourteen day cruise next year!!!

As on most cruises, the Head Chef did a little demonstration for those of us who like to cook in real life (being on board ship is by no means real life). The Head Chef of The Dawn Princess showed us how to make Gravlax and Tiramisu. Tiramisu I can take or leave, and I usually leave, which is very odd since I am a cake person to rival Gayle King, and a coffee person to rival Howard Shultz but, hand me a raw fish and I get all giddy!  I took lots of notes during the Gravlax portion of the demonstration.  When I got back on land, I knew I was going to make  Gravlax for our Cook Book Club meeting.  The theme was “Something You Love But Seldom Make”.  This recipe fit perfectly, as I love it, but had never made it.  Gravlax is one simple recipe, and it’s a stunning appetizer plate or brunch treat.

I know some of you are asking, but what is Gravlax? Think Lox!  It’s very similar, but with a shorter curing time (two days versus six months). Gravlax is a Scandinavian dish of dry-cured raw salmon marinated in salt, sugar, dill, and citrus and often served thinly sliced on bread as an appetizer often accompanied by a dill-mustard sauce.

Dawn Princess Gravlax

  • 1 salmon fillet, about 2 lbs (very fresh, wild caught)
  • 500 grams of table salt (I weighed this out to be about ¾ cup)
  • 500 grams of sugar (I weighed this out to be about 1 ¼ cups)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • One bunch fresh dill
  • 1 large orange, sliced
  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  1. Place the salmon side on a large piece of plastic wrap. Run your hand over the surface and remove any and all bones with small tweezers.
  2. Mix the salt and sugar together. Sprinkle approximately half of the salt/sugar mixture over the salmon fillet. Then top with a good amount of  freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Top the black pepper with a heavy layer of fresh dill sprigs.
  4. Top the dill with a layer of the orange and lemon slices.
  5. Pour remaining sugar-salt mixture over the top of everything.
  6. Wrap the fish, covered with the salt, the dill, and the orange and lemon slices and a final layer of salt/sugar, completely and tightly in plastic wrap.
  7. Lay plastic wrapped fillet on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30-48 hours.  (80% of the recipes I read on the Internet said to weigh the fish down with something heavy during the refrigeration time. The chef did not say this, but after reading the recipes on line, I decided to do the same.  I used a 12-pack of soda.)
  8. Remove the plastic wrap from the fish. Drain off the liquid. Quickly rinse the salt off with cold water, then dry with a paper towel.
  9. Thinly slice the salmon, holding the knife at a diagonal.  Serve.  The chef served the gravlax on a sliced sweet baguette with a honey-mustard-dill sauce (equal parts of honey and mustard, with a few tablespoons chopped fresh dill).  My kids, and I, love to put the Gravlax on top of  bagel halves which have been spread with thin layer of cream cheese and then topped with thinly sliced red onion, capers, and tomatoes. Or how about Eggs Benedict with Gravlax rather than Canadian Bacon?
  10. Leftovers can be wrapped tightly in plastic and kept for one week in refrigerator, and can be stored in freezer for longer storage.  If gravlax is frozen, be sure to defrost gently in refrigerator, or the texture of the gravlax will be compromised.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  If you’d like to see more recipes, just click on the “In The Kitchen With Polly” header on the top left hand side of the page, which will allow you to scroll the recipes in order of posting.  If you would like to search on a particular ingredient, just type the name in the search box.  I think my dear friend Rattie has designed a very user friendly website!


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2 Responses
  1. Nancy says:

    I took this to a party today. The hostess wanted to know who made it, it was so good!

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