This is a great dish to serve as an appetiser on a large platter. Put the creamy dressing, homemade dill pickles and rye bread on the side and allow your guests to enjoy this delicious dish. Don't forget to serve it with a glass of cold sparkling wine (my favourite is Tempus Two-I do wish someone actually paid me to say that hint hint Tempus Two, I would love a free bottle of wine, but this site is a labour of love still). Anyway this is how I like to start a party, gravlax and wine, love it.
Now for my tips, I'll start with the creamy mustard sauce. The creamy mustard sauce recipe is more a guide than a recipe, as it is to taste, this is how I do it. I place the cream, sugar and olive oil in a bowl, then I add only 1 teaspoon of the hot English mustard and 1 teaspoon of the vinegar, then I give it a little whisk to combine the ingredients. Taste it, do you taste the mustard, if it doesn't have a slight horseradishy feel, add more. If it tastes sweet add more vinegar. I like it with a good kick of mustard, so I add 3 teaspoons, you may like only 2, that is why I add the ingredients in slowly and I taste as I go. The vinegar balances out the sweetness, so keep adding vinegar until you like it, you may like it sweeter. This is so easy to make and it compliments the gravlax so well. Also if you want to double the recipe, do it the same way, start with the cream, sugar, oil then add the remaining ingredients slowly, to taste.
The dill pickles recipe can be found at www.whatscookingella.com/blog/bread-and-butter-pickles this I make in bulk as my family goes nuts for it. So easy to make and so much nicer than store bought pickles. And just works perfectly with gravlax.
When we go to the fish markets we tend to buy a whole salmon or a whole ocean trout, they fillet it for me, just remember to tell them to leave the skin on. Then when I get home, I pick the bit that I want to make into gravlax (I like the centre pieces) and we barbecue or confit the rest. That is when I make this, and it really does need to be fresh. If you are just buying already sliced fillets, the salmon fillets need to be the same size, so that they sit nicely when sandwiched together, so when choosing make sure your fillets are similar in size and shape.
Now although this is an easy dish to make, remember to start it 3 days before you need it. And once ready it will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
So next time you feel like eating salmon or ocean trout, get an extra piece and try this, it is absolutely delicious.
2 x 500g salmon or ocean trout fillets (see notes above)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1/2 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
1/2 bunch dill
1 1/2 tablespoons vodka
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
Mustard Sauce: (see notes above)
100ml thick cream
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons hot English mustard
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Preparing the salmon: Remove any bones from the fillet. If you run a clean hand over the fillet, you will feel them. Use cooking tweezers to remove them, I like doing this.
Combine the sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub it over both sides of both fillets.
You will need a large ceramic dish to put the fillets in, Line the ceramic dish with cling film large enough that it will wrap around the fillets when sandwiched together.
Place about 1/3 of the dill in the centre of your cling film. Sprinkle the dill with 1/2 tablespoon of the vodka. Place one of your fillets on top the dill, skin side down. Cover the fillet with 1/2 of the remaining dill, another 1/2 tablespoon of the vodka and 1/2 of the lemon rind.
Place the second fillet on top, skin side up this time. Match up the pieces so that the thicker end of the top fillet sits on the thinner end of the bottom fillet, making a neat level package, this will help when you need to weigh it down later.
Place the remaining dill, vodka and lemon rind over the top fillet. Wrap up tightly with the cling film. I like to place a shallow plastic container on the fish, the container needs to be larger than the fillet, but it fits inside of your ceramic dish. Then I place food tins inside to act as a weight. You could also just use another heavy ceramic dish. But whatever you use, weigh it down, but don't add too much weight where you crush the fish.
Place immediately in the refrigerator and leave it for three days. The only thing you need to do is once a day, turn the fish over, placing the weights back on after each turn.
On the day of serving, make the mustard sauce, read my tips above before making it, as I like it with a good kick of mustard flavour. Combine the cream, sugar and olive oil in a bowl. Add the mustard and apple cider vinegar, whisk to combine, season with salt and white pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
To serve the gravlax, take off the top fillet and scrape off as much of the seasoning from both fillets as you can, I don't like to wash it, I much prefer just scarping it off.
Slice the flesh across the grain or on the bias as thinly as possible without tearing it, treat it like you would smoked salmon, go as close as you can to the skin, but discard the skin, you don't want any skin on the flesh. Use long sawing strokes to make the slices, a sharp knife is needed here. It's best if you can see through the fish, but don't worry if you can't, you just don't want steaks. Cut off any dark pieces of the fillet, if there are any, you want the beautiful rosy flesh only.
To serve, place the thin slices on a platter, alongside some toasted rye bread, the mustard sauce and the homemade dill pickles. Don't forget the sparkling wine.
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