Salmon Gravlax with Horseradish Creme
What is the only rock that humans eat? It’s the one surrounded by tons of mysterious and ambiguous theories – table salt! This unique mineral is used in virtually every dish – from appetizers to desserts. Being the most famous flavor enhancer on earth, salt is also dangerous. Dangerous to your reputation as a cook, especially if you overuse it. Some people even claim to have the superpower of figuring out how much salt is in the respective cooked dish by merely smelling it. I’m not joking. Salt has another lesser-known superpower – in addition to its flavor-enhancing abilities, it is a cooking method in itself!
Salting technique roots back to ancient times when no fancy freezers were available. People would salt fish and meat using either “dry” or “wet” method to preserve food for later eating. Salt was essential and indispensable. Funny enough, the word “salary” came from the Latin root “sal,” i.e., “salt,” thus showing the highest value of salt. Throughout many countries and across time, salted fish was considered food for the impoverished population. But as history proves, the path to success and delicacy often weaves through humble beginnings.
In Scandinavian and Eastern European countries, salted redfish (a.k.a. gravlax) is a frequent feast hero. Served with the creamiest butter, herbs, and bread, it takes you to the realms of flavor harmony. Undoubtedly, it’s a winning combination not only for celebrations or special occasions but even for a simple home meal. For example, cured salmon is a highly desired breakfast option. Thin slices on rye bread smeared with cream cheese and sprinkled with finely chopped green onion equal a delicious start of the day!
Store-bought gravlax can be pretty expensive, but the key is to make it yourself. All you need is salt! Add fish with some sugar and fresh dill. That’s it. Gravlax is simple and fancy at once.
You will experience a delicate, translucent texture with a crisp herbal note and just the right amount of saltiness, not overpowering the stunning fish flavor. To toss in a savory punch, I suggest serving it with crème Fraiche infused with chive freshness and piquant horseradish that will make your palate dance. A vibrant choice of veggies and croutons will seamlessly complete the plate.
Should you want to experiment with leftovers, don’t shy away from using your gravlax in homemade rolls, wraps, or all sorts of salads and sandwiches. Once tried, it’s sure to stay in one’s book of golden recipes forever. Just make sure the salmon is of the highest quality and sashimi-grade!
Salmon Gravlax with Horseradish Creme
- 1 cup fresh dill roughly chopped (1 large bunch)
- 4 oz kosher salt
- 4 oz granulated sugar
- 1 lb salmon sashimi-grade, skin on, bones removed
Horseradish Creme Fraiche
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 2 tablespoons chive finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons grated horseradish fresh or preserved
- fresh lemon juice and pepper to taste
- Rye or Sourdough Croutons
- small bunch of frisée salad
- pickled or roasted beets
- In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar, and dill. Place 2 large pieces of plastic wrap on a work surface, slightly overlapping. Evenly spread half the salt mixture in the shape of the salmon. Place salmon on salt, skin side down, and sprinkle with the remaining salt mixture. Tightly wrap it with plastic wrap and place it in a large dish. Top the fish with a small cutting board or a flat plate and place something heavy on top. Refrigerate for 12 to 18 hours, but no longer or the fish might get too salty and dry.
- Unwrap the salmon, scrape off salt and rinse with cold water. Then pat dry with a paper towel and place in a storage container. Enjoy within 1 week.
- To make Horseradish Creme Fraiche, in a small bowl, combine the creme fraiche, chive, and grated horseradish. Season to taste with a splash of lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Thinly slice the gravlax right before serving and present on a piece of rye bread, or on top of frisee salad with chopped pickled or roasted beets and sourdough croutons. Drizzle with horseradish creme.