We have a long standing tradition of curing a whole Salmon or Sea Trout two or three times a year and then serving it at family feasts and celebrations. Although a large fish is an extravagance, gravadlax goes a surprisingly long way. You need a few days of curing but there is nothing technical in the process and once complete, sections of the fish can be packaged and frozen. Serve thinly sliced for canapés, salads, cold buffets or just on its own.
A 2-3kg whole Salmon or Sea Trout, off the bone
Large bunch of Dill
Large bunch of Tarragon
4 Tablespoons Sea Salt
4 Tablespoons Caster Sugar
3 Teaspoons Juniper Berries, crushed
4 Tablespoons of Gin
Ask the fishmonger to fillet the 2 whole sides off the fish leaving the skin on.
(Take the head and bones home too – you can make a great fish stock for another dish)
Inspect the fish fillets and make sure all bones have been removed.
Lay a large double sheet of tinfoil on a flat surface.
Place one of the fish fillets onto it, skin side down and scatter some of the herbs along it.
Mix the salt, sugar and crushed juniper together, then spoon this evenly on top of the herbs.
Layer with the remaining herbs and spoon the gin over.
(This alcohol is optional but does give a lovely bite to the finished flavour of the cure.)
Placing the other side of the fish on top, skin side up, to form a big sandwich.
Then wrap tightly in the double layer of foil, followed by clingfilm..
Place the package on a tray (some juice will leak out), put another tin on top and then weights on top of that.
(A couple of large baked bean tins will do if you don’t have old fashioned weights).
Place the whole thing in the fridge for 48 hours, undisturbed
It is a lovely moment to open the package and reveal the complete transformation of the fish into a firm cured delicacy.
Discard the wrapping and juices, store the fish in the fridge for up to 5 days or portion it into sections and freeze.
To serve, slide a pairing knife under the flesh to remove the skin, then carve delicately across the grain into thin slices.