Gravlax is salmon which is cured with herbs, predominantly dill, and which is not smoked. I have made gravlax over the years in a traditional way which involved using weights to help press liquids out of the salmon during the curing process. I saw an article in the March 2013 issue Food & Wine by Andrew Zimmern stating that the curing could be done without pressing the salmon, and that this would improve the texture. He was right, this method does work well. Gravlax should be made with the best salmon you can find. This was made from some King salmon I found at New Grand Mart which turned out to be very good quality. I cured this for 3 days and served it with Sweet Mustard Dill Sauce . I slightly adapted the original recipe for ingredients I had available. For example, only some of the state ABC stores carry aquavit, so I ended up using gin as a substitute.
1 Tbs. cumin seeds
2 Tbs. whole black peppercorns
½ cup kosher salt (I used Morton’s)
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 cups chopped dill (about one large bunch)
2 cups chopped parsley
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 Tbs. grated lemon zest
3 Tbs. aquavit (substitute gin)
2 lbs. high quality skin on salmon filet
Grind the cumin seeds and peppercorns in a spice mill. Put the ground spices in a medium bowl, and mix together all the other ingredients except the salmon. Put the salmon filet, skin-side down in a small glass or ceramic lasagna pan.
Cover the salmon completely with the herb mixture.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator. Cure in the refrigerator until the salmon has a firm texture. Here is what the dish looked like after I cured the salmon for 3 days. Notice the pool of liquid which the cure had extracted from the salmon.
Scrape off all of the cure.
Cut the salmon in thin slices on a diagonal. Serve with good bread and Sweet Mustard Dill Sauce