One Swedish dish that feels very familiar to this Canadian Jew is Gravad Lax. This salmon that is cured in a salt and sugar mix has similarity to my beloved lox. Both are incredibly delicious, but Gravad Lax can be made at home with relative ease!
Okay, let’s see how this is done.
- fresh salmon filet (try to find one with good marbling … uh, like well striped)
- 100 ml of table salt
- 100 ml of white sugar
- 1 tsp of white pepper
- fresh dill
- gin (optional … heck you know me, it’s my go to option in just about everything!)
Add the salt to the sugar and mix it well!
Add the white pepper to the salt/sugar mixture. Mix it all until it’s a uniform colour.
Coat the salmon is this mixture. Make sure every bit of the salmon is covered. Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy, this is where most of the flavour will come from!
Line the bottom of a large casserole dish or tupperware container with fresh dill.
Place the coated salmon on top of your dill … uh … carpet?
Cover the salmon completely with more fresh dill.
The salmon should be pretty well hidden!
Now, my little trick …
Pour some gin over the entire dish. Don’t soak it, just a splash for flavour.
You can also use vodka or aquavit for this step. It’s optional, you’ll get pretty good Gravad Lax without doing it … but you don’t just want pretty good do ya?
Now your going to cover this and let it sit for 3 days in the fridge!
Once every 24 hours make sure to uncover the salmon and flip it over on to the other side. This will prevent the salmon from curing unevenly. Remember to cover it back up before putting it back into the fridge!
Through the magic of the internet, 3 days have passed! Time to get our salmon out!
Take your salmon and rinse off all the curing spices (that’s the salt, sugar and pepper mix)
Make sure to get both sides!
Slice your salmon into thin slices. Make sure to cut against the grain or the slices will fall apart.
Use a slow sawing motion and push away from the larger piece as you get to the skin. The skin is much tougher than the flesh of the salmon and the knife will stop as you hit the skin. Pushing away will get the flesh to easily lift from the skin (I know, I say it like it’s gonna just happen … don’t worry if it takes a few slices to get the hang of it).
Try your best to get the slices thin and uniform. Hey, this is a Swedish dish, we don’t want any piece outshining any other pieces! (fun socialism joke for all my Swedish family!)
Serve it on hard bread with some mustard sauce!
There you have it, Gravad Lax!
As they say in Sweden … OM NOM NOM!