Home-made Christmas #2

291 CommentsSunday, 22 November 2009  |  Admin

Another one of my (bah, humbug) irritants about Christmas is the fact that we're all feel obliged to stock up on loads of 'luxury' treats. For me though, luxury doesn't necessarily mean cost, but in the case of this gravadlax recipe, it's time.
Home-made gravadlax is a fantastic, tasty alternative to smoked salmon. It's scandanavian in origin, hence the use of dill and mustard to give it a lovely flavour. It's really simple to make, but you need to allow 5 - 8 days for the salmon to cure.
1 side of salmon (fillet, skin removed) about 1-2kg
2-3 large bunches fresh dill

125g/4oz rough sea salt crystals

250g/8oz caster sugar

30g/1oz freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:

1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

1 tbsp English mustard

1 tsp caster sugar

1 tbsp sunflower oil

2 tbsp crème fraîche

1 tbsp wine vinegar
1. Ask your fishmonger to skin and pinbone your salmon fillets - I've used salmon with the skin on in the past, but prefer it without

2. Roughly chop the dill and mix thoroughly in a bowl with the salt, sugar and pepper. Lay out a sheet of cling film about four times the width of a salmon fillet. Spread a quarter of the cure mix over a fillet-size area on one side of the clingfilm with a good 15cm/6in margin for folding over.

3. Place one fillet, on top of the pickle mixture and cover with slightly more than half of what is left. Place the second fillet on top, to make a sandwich. Scatter the remaining cure mixture over the skin.

4. Wrap up the parcel tightly, tucking the ends and edges in underneath the fish.

5. Put the package on the tray and place a similar size tray, or a plank of wood on the top. Weigh it down, with something heavy - I use 6L of milk.Turn the package daily for between 5 & 8 days. Do not discard the liquid that oozes from the package unless it threatens to spill over the side of the tray.

6. At least one hour before serving, combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and shake well together. Leave to stand and shake again before serving.

7. To serve, unwrap the gravadlax and wipe off any excess pickling liquid. There is no need to scrape off the dill pieces. Slice fairly thinly then serve with the sauce and buttered wheaten bread. (Unused gravadlax can be re-wrapped in clean cling film and kept in the fridge for up to five days. It also freezes very successfully.)
I've got 2 kg of this in my fridge at the moment which has cost me about £10 in total. There's enough to do me for my 'Come Dine with Me' Extravaganza during the week, plus as a starter for our Christmas dinner. And it's all done well in advance - so no stressing!

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