A few weeks ago I went to the closest fishmonger in my town and bought a big chunk of fresh tuna, which at that point, I had no idea what to do with. Beside the tuna, I also bought the freshest looking samphire/glasswort, as I love this sea vegetable cooked the simplest way by boiling it for a couple of minutes with lemon juice squeezed over before serving. Read more about this on the Guardian article.
For last Christmas, Kevan was given a book, “Heston Blumenthal At Home”, and a recipe in it caught my eye “konbu-cured halibut”. Using the tuna and replacing konbu sheets with sushi nori, the dish turned out really well, though I must admit it was more complicated than the recipe led you to believe. There was enough tuna to serve 12 people and everybody seemed to enjoy the treated fish and the samphire served on the side
Encouraged by the success of the above, I was tempted by offers of filleted salmon at Tesco recently and decided to try to make gravad lax (note the 2 words here, as a Swedish friend pointed out that putting it as 1 word was like writing boiledpotato!). As curing fish is a new thing for me, I followed tips from different websites on how to treat the salmon. The most important thing is to freeze the salmon first (the only way to kill parasites) before curing, so buying frozen salmon, as long as it’s the best quality, is a good short cut. You still have to defrost the fish in the fridge though.
The following is my version of gravad lax; (plenty for 6 to 8 people as starter)
1 side of filleted salmon, cut in half
150g sea salt
100g caster sugar
25g coriander seeds
25g black peppercorns
4 packets of 25g fresh dill
Put coriander seeds and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Bash until crumbly, add in salt and sugar and bash again. Chop 3 packets of the dill
Lay a large sheet of cling film on the work top and put the 2 pieces of fish on top, skin down.
On both pieces lay the chopped herbs, pat firmly, then the contents of the mortar, again pat firmly. Gently turn 1 half over on top of the other to make a sandwich.
Tightly wrap the fish ‘sandwich’ with the cling film. Cut another piece of cling film and wrap the fish once more before you put it in a bowl. Keep in the fridge for 48 hours.
After 2 days, unwrap the fish. There will be a lot of liquid collected at the bottom of the bowl. Using a clean tea towel, scrape the curing ingredients off the fish but leave some of the chopped dill on. Pat dry before slicing.
I served this with mustard sauce (using mustard, mayo and the extra packet of dill) but next time I will serve it with freshly made celeriac remoulade. The crunchiness of the celeriac would counterbalance the soft texture of the salmon.
The result of the cured salmon was even better than the konbu tuna, and much simpler. If you like gravad lax, follow this recipe and make a batch for the freezer whilst you are at it and the offer at Tesco is still on. Personally, bought gravad lax is too sweet and costs quite a bit for a packet enough only for 1 person.
With no hesitation, I served this to my Swedish friend and the two of us gobbled up almost the whole 1/2 fish!
Love curing fish now…would love to learn some more. Please let me know if anybody else has other recipes to share.