Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More

Beet-Cured Salmon Gravlax – Food Wishes

hello this is chef john from food wishes
calm with be cured salmon gravlax that’s right if people knew exactly how easy it
was to cure your own salmon at home they still would buy it at the store which is
sort of a shame as anyone who’s actually made this will tell you since while it
does take a couple days it is an extremely simple process and the results
are generally just as delicious and way more beautiful than anything you’re
gonna get at the store so with that let’s go ahead and get started and first
up we’re gonna put together our curing mixture which sounds way more
complicated than it is since all we need to do is mix equal parts of kosher salt
and white granulated sugar and maybe just maybe a little shake of cayenne and
believe it or not that’s it we will simply stir that together and that’s now
ready to use to magically convert our fresh salmon into cured salmon so let’s
set that aside and we’ll move on to the star of the show
one piece of fresh boneless skin-on salmon and as long as your piece starts
at the tail end it could be as big as you want right up to and including the
entire side of salmon and as you can probably see I’m doing a pretty small
piece here I think this was just around a half a pound which is probably the
minimum size piece you want to do and then what we’ll do once we have
everything together is line some kind of dish or pan with some cheesecloth just a
couple layers is fine and then once that’s placed in we’ll go ahead and
sprinkle in roughly 1/3 of our salt sugar mixture and by the way if you
don’t have cheesecloth a clean kitchen towel will work beautifully and yes that
crease going down the middle is annoying me too but don’t worry that’s not gonna
cause any adverse effects and then what we’ll do is place our salmon skin side
down although you should probably use your hands since I just totally crushed
that with my tongs and now it looks like it has a bite mark but anyway we’ll
place our salmon in and then we’ll go ahead and drop a beat from the top of
the frame so I can show you how I just peeled off the bottom half and that’s
gonna allow for us to grate this beat over the salmon without getting our
fingers all red at least that was the plan but it didn’t work and my finger
still got all red but it’s still a good idea because if you peeled it all would
be too slippery and much harder to grate and what we’re trying to do here is
great over enough so when we spread it out we have a layer about an eighth to a
quarter inch thick no real measurements here just sort of
grate it until you have enough and then once we think we have enough on we’ll
take a fork and sort of spread it around and I should mention we’re obviously
doing beats here but traditional gravlax uses dill for this step which really is
lovely and you could certainly include some here but I didn’t because I always
do it that way and I wanted to try something different and then what we’ll
do once our beet has been grated and spread out evenly just go ahead and
apply the rest of our salt and sugar mixture to the top and I was just about
to say evenly but because one side is thicker than the other we can go a
little heavier on that side and then what we’ll do once that’s been applied
is go ahead and fold our cheesecloth over and we’ll sort of wrap that up to
hold everything together at which point we’ll add a piece of plastic over the
top and then very important before this goes in the fridge we have to weight it
down somehow which I’m going to do very effectively with a foil wrap brick and
while this really works out nicely anything kind of flat and heavy will
work as long as the weight is relatively evenly distributed and I’ll try to give
you a little extra info about that on the blog and then what we’ll do once
that’s weighted is transfer it into the fridge for anywhere between one day and
three days depending mostly on the size and thickness of the salmon and since I
did use a relatively small piece mine was done in a day and a half and when I
pulled it out it looked a little something like this
and what’s happened here is that sugar salt has drawn out a lot of liquid from
that fish and by drawing out that liquid not only have we preserved this at least
temporarily but you’ll notice the texture has gotten much much firmer all
right if yours is still mushy and feels like fresh fish they needed to cure
longer but mine was feeling and looking just about perfect so I’m gonna go ahead
and remove it from that dish and I’ll place that on a paper towel-lined plate
so that I can perform one optional but I think important step and that would be
to scrape off our grated beet with the back of a knife I mean I guess you could
slice this as is but personally I don’t think it will look as good
so that’s your call I mean you are after all the Harry Chapin of beat scraping so
you decide but I do recommend it and really isn’t that much more difficult
than cradling a cat but anyway we’ll go ahead and clean that up if we so choose
at which point finally this is ready to not eat
I mean you could slice it and eat it but I’m not going to what I like to do is
wrap this up and pop in the fridge for one more day – I guess age a little bit
it just seems like it’s a better texture to the next day and roughly 18 hours
later it look like this which i think is just absolutely stunning and then what
we’ll do using a very sharp relatively thin knife let’s go ahead and start
slicing this up at roughly a 45 degree angle in one tip here make sure you save
all your scraps and trimmings since those can be chopped up stirred into
cream cheese and they make for a great great spread but anyway forget about the
scraps for now I’m going to go ahead and taste one of these amazingly beautiful
slices and as you can hopefully see from this close-up the salmon has taken on
sort of a plasticy translucent appearance which along with the firmness
is how you can tell this was properly cured so the texture of this was
absolutely perfect in the taste equally amazing alright if you’ve never had
gravlax before imagine the best smoked salmon you’ve ever had
without the smokiness are a little bit sweet a little bit salty with a
beautiful buttery rich finish so I was very happy with these results and
proceeded to slice up the rest and speaking of slicing we always want
to slice away from the tail like I said about a 45 degree angle and because
salmon skin is so tough and leathery when we slice down in the blade hits it
if you kind of turn the knife that will let us finish the cut without going
through the skin although as you can see I just went through the skin and there’s
a hole there but my point is still valid simply slice down gliding the knife back
and forth until you hit that skin and then stop pressing so hard and simply
turn the knife and complete your cut and you know what not every piece is going
to be perfect like that one but that’s okay our bagel won’t care and if we
happen to see a little bit left on the skin go ahead and trim that off and add
that to your little ramekin of scraps so like I said you can make a little spread
later and that’s it we’ll go ahead and finish slicing that up to create an
incredibly impressive looking platter for your next fancy brunch I’m not
saying this is going to be the best gravlax you’ve ever had in your life but
I am saying is probably going to be one of the most beautiful and as impressive
as that stuff looked on a platter it’s even more so piled up on a toasted bagel
with cream cheese garnish with a few capers and while I have been known to
pay up to 25 a pound for something very similar to
this at the deli this really was every bit as good and by the way if you missed
the dill flavor just chop up some fresh and put it on the top problem solved but
anyway that’s it how to make your own be cured salmon
gravlax and I’m not completely delusional just partly so I do realize
most people won’t have the patience for this but you know what we’re not most
people never have been never will be so for folks like us to wait a couple days
for something this extraordinary is no big thing plus you know that foodie
friend years that is never impressed by anything this will impress them right
they won’t admit it but it will impress them so for those reasons and more I
really do hope you give this a try soon head over to food wishes comm for all
the ingredient amounts of more info as usual and as always enjoy you you

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