Let's Talk Gravlax

86
10
Joined Jun 4, 2003
:bounce: I made gravlax for a party I catered. It was great and all liked it. However I would, myself, preferred to have it taste more salty. I have made this before several times and always wanted it to change in some way or other. You might say I have been experimenting. I like what I like, so I try to adjust my receipe. So, I made this one with about equal amts of salt to sugar and some orange zest. I used alot of the mixture and did not cover with plastic or parchment, and I left it in frig for a total of 48 Hours. It came out really great! A little like Stiff Fish! Ha Ha But I loved the texture. I really want it to be more salty. So, If I use much more salt ( like 10 cups of salt and 2 cups of sugar) would that make it much more salty? I love this stuff and I think it belongs on a buffet table in one form or the other.
 
4,508
32
Joined Jul 31, 2000
I enjoy Gravlox. both eating and making it.

A quick note on your procedure, you should cover and weigh your salmon to maximize the penetration of your cure as well as assisting in the finished texture. Traditionally, I use 2 parts salt (to cure and draw out moisture) to 1 part sugar (helps keep the salmon tender) Lots of fresh dill and toasted and roughly ground juniper berries completes my flavoring.

10 cups of salt to two cups of sugar sounds a bit excessive to me for your cure.
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,116
546
Joined Jun 11, 2001
I never thought about weighing it. Makes sense. I too use 2:1 salt to sugar. I like to splash the salmon with a little Scotch before wrapping it up.

Gravlax is a darn good excuse to buy a salmon slicer. :) Flexible granton edge. :D
 
65
10
Joined Aug 25, 2001
I would like to recommend using a splash of gin and grapefruit peel on the salmon before adding the salt/sugar mix as a substitute for the classic aquavita nd dill. It was, I admit, a serendipitous discovery, not designed. I am not a great lover of dill and have always used lemon peel. Ooops, no lemon peel on hand, tried grapefruit. Marvellous.

It's really an interesting addition. PLEASE give it a try (maybe on a small hunk of your sallmon) and let me know if you agree
 
86
10
Joined Jun 4, 2003
Thanks for the info. I did not use any alcohol this time because i forgot to buy it. but I will try the 2 to 1 ratio the next time. I did not weight it down and it still came out real firm. Maybe its because I used almost 20 cups of salt/sugar (plus orange peel.
 

pete

Moderator
Staff member
4,509
998
Joined Oct 7, 2001
For a great Southwestern twist to Gravlax we used to use a mix of lemon and lime zest, a touch of cilanto (and I do mean a touch), crushed coriander, crushed, dried Habanero, and a sprinkling of Tequila along with the sugar-salt mixture.
 
149
10
Joined Nov 17, 2002
I too love, love, love Gravlox...

I have always weighed down my Gravlox, that was the way I was taught and have never varied or even thought of varying from it...

As far as liquors go, I always use liquors in my gravlox, I just love the flavor that they enhance, my faves are Pernod or Anisette, I like rum and vodka also, I have never tried Scotch tho', that sounds interesting, although I have done it with Yukon Jack. I think that I preferred the sweeter liquors, not for any real reason I suppose, I just liked the result better.

This pic was a variation of Gravlox that me and another chef came up with that was really good with an asian flair...

Used sake, coarse sea salt and cane sugar, 2:1, ground star anise and cilantro. Wrapped in pandun leaves then pressed...was really, really good...

Am not sure if I am doing this right, have never loaded a pic before, but here it is...
Gravlox_display.jpg
 
9,209
69
Joined Aug 29, 2000
That looks scrumptious! I'm guessing the trash container was not part of the presentation! :D

I'm not familiar with padun leaves. Can you give me a ballpark description of the flavor they impart?

Thanks for the photo!
 
1,070
28
Joined Dec 8, 1999
The chef I'm working for now did an oriental style gravlax last month. He wrapped his in nori. It turned out very nice.
 
4,508
32
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Greg,

Did he wrap the whole side, or individual portions? Just curious as how the Nori stayed firm(crisp)
 
149
10
Joined Nov 17, 2002
I guess Cape answered your question for you...

The pandun leaves was Scott's idea...was a good one, but nothing I would have done...until now that is...

I tried grav with nori before and did not care for the crusting flavor, the sugar didn't kill enough of the nori flavor for my tastes anyway...would like to try someone elses though, because I like the idea it was just mine was too overwhelming with the Nori...

While thinking about the cured salmon thingy, ya know what I bet would be good is using Pernod with different flavored furikake in the with the cure...mmmmm...now am gonna have to try it, I think that would be awesome....At work I feature an oriental action station daily for lunch, I think I just found my next idea...

Cheffy
 
149
10
Joined Nov 17, 2002
ahhhhhhh...how about the cure with furikake and then covered in kaffir lime leaves...the kaffir will aid in the curing process...hmmmm....I wonder if the kaffir would help or hinder the curing process, once they become wet I wonder if they are strong enough to cook the meat thus screwing up the cure??

Inquiring minds need to know....ain't nuttin' to it but to do it...I wonder how cheap salmon is this week???????

Wish I had some salmon here...LOL... now I am hungry...Lox and Bagel would be awesome right about now....

Cheffy

PS Mezz...yeah that kinda stinks about the garbage can, but I was pretty proud of the display and when I crop the pic it looks like crap...this pic didn't show up too clearly on the message board, but I really liked this one...
 
1,070
28
Joined Dec 8, 1999
He wrapped the whole side. The nori didn't stay crisp, but I don't think that it was intended to stay crisp. Using the nori was more of a flavor and visual thing than textural.
 
93
12
Joined Sep 23, 2004
Years ago, fishermen in Norway preserved their catch by marinating the fish and then burying it in snow. The unctuous texture of gravlax is like fine velvet, or perhaps satin, or a combination of both. The flavour, at first curiously salty & sweet, then perceptibly herbal, then faintly alcoholic, is ultimately & distinctively that of salmon. A squeeze of lemon or grind of white pepper adds new depth, and a morsel dipped briefly into a sweetish mustard sauce produces a sensory revelation.

I have generally served gravlax with rye or flatbread, a cucumber salad, and dill-creamed redskinned potatoes. Caviar sauce would make the dish transcendent. Beverages of choice usually include ice-cold aquavit or vodka, a crisp Chablis, or a premium ale.

You must use fresh (not frozen-fresh) wild or farm-raised salmon to ensure that this dish will be moist and succulent. The sets of ingredients that I use for two main methods of preparing gravlax, follow….

3 lbs center-cut salmon, cleaned & scaled!
1½ fl. oz. aquavit, cognac, or dry sherry
¼ cup coarse sea salt (I use the Italian Aurora brand)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp white peppercorns, crushed
1 large bunch fresh dill, chopped
lemon slices & Boston lettuce, for garnish

2½ lb skin-on salmon filet
1 fl. oz. lemon juice
2 Tbsp coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp light-brown sugar
Fresh chopped dill, parsley, & mint leaves, to taste

Remember to score the skin of the salmon in 3 or 4 places to let the salt-sugar mixture penetrate the flesh.
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
Mmmmm, gravlax. I'll have to look up the thread we had on it some years ago; there were lots of good suggestions there, too.

The one thing I remember from that other thread, because I tried it, was using other fish. I used trout, but because it's a freshwater fish, after curing it I cooked it by poaching very gently in oil. So it had the flavor of gravad but the texture of hot-smoked.

Zukerig, I'm curious: have you compared gravlax made from FAS salmon to that made from never-frozen fish? Since even sushi salmon gets frozen first, I wonder why you couldn't use really top-quality frozen wild salmon. (I think that most farm-raised is not to be used for anything, least of all a preparation where flavor and texture matter as much as gravlax.)
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
I found the thread on "Ideas for Curing Salmon" -- Splish splash here.

Zukerig: Oh, I'm fully aware of the story of farmed salmon. :mad: If you want to read some interesting propaganda, check out Salmon of the Americas, an organization which would have us believe that farmed salmon is the greatest thing since, um, Wonderbread. :eek:

At the annual conference of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs three years ago, I attended a seminar run by Chefs Collaborative on "Seafood Solutions." Part of the seminar was a tasting of four salmons: FAS (frozen at sea) wild Alaskan salmon; FAS white salmon; fresh wild-caught coho; and Atlantic farmed. The preferred salmon of the participants (all of us restaurant professionals) was the FAS Alaskan salmon, with the FAS white coming next, the fresh coho third, and of course the Atlantic farmed last. What was generally liked about the FAS salmons was the firm texture and clear flavor. That's why I asked your opinion of FAS.
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,116
546
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Us humans are weird. First we kill it, then we cure it. :D
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom