One of the beauties of living near the water is the abundance of fresh fish. I love it every way possible: on the grill, in a stew, smoked or dried.
I especially like gravlax–cold cured salmon–for its delicate taste and incredible ease of home preparation.
You can find many versions of this recipe online, with varying proportions, but the main idea stays the same: fresh fish, salt, sugar and some time.
Here is my version:
You will need:
Very fresh salmon filet (as fresh as you can get), skin on (or a previously commercially frozen salmon filet; the deep-freezing at commercial temperatures kills parasites)
A mix of sugar and kosher salt: one part sugar, three parts salt – enough to cover the fish
3-5 black peppercorns
A sprinkle of fresh or dried dill
Optional: whole allspice, mustard seeds
- Wash and dry the raw fish and place is a shallow bowl or Tupperware
- Cover the fish with salt and seasonings – don’t worry about oversalting, it’s nearly impossible. You literally should not be able to see the fish.
- Cover everything with plastic wrap, and put some weight on top. I use a second Tupperware filled with water.
- Refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, wipe off the excess salt and enjoy! The fish “cooks" in the salt, so don’t worry about it being raw.
- Do you think your fish is a little too salty? Fear not – soak it in milk for about 45 minutes to an hour, rinse, and you should be good to go.
With the gravlax, I like to make open-faced sandwiches with some capers, lettuce, a slice of tomato and a dab of mayo or fromage blanc. Swap the traditional bagel for toasted rye bread for some serious calorie savings.
Where to buy good fish?
New Deal Fish Market622 Cambridge St., Cambridge.
45 Union Sq., Somerville
Courthouse Seafood, 498 Cambridge St., East Cambridge
Whole Foods Medford or Cambridge locations