Suckers walk, money talks
But it can't touch my quick gravlax
-- Salmon Hagar
Think lox is way expensive? No decent smoked salmon in your area? Want to impress your friends with a fancy appetizer while spending less than 30 minutes on prep? Gravlax is your answer.
This simple cured salmon looks and tastes better than most nova lox, but does not require a smokehouse or any fancy equipment; if you have plastic wrap, some tupperware, a fridge, and 3 days of passive time, you're all set.
1 lbs Salmon filets, skin on
1/3 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground black or white pepper
1 cup rougly chopped fresh dill
2 shots aquavit or vodka
The salmon filets should be two same-size pieces, either two matching tail pieces, or two rectanguar cuts from the thick (head) end of the salmon filet. Previously frozen salmon is actually preferred here for texture and sanitary reasons, so you can save money as well.
Pat both filets dry with paper towels. Get a small glass, plastic or ceramic container just barely large enough to hold both filets.
Mix together the sugar, salt, allspice and pepper. Put 1/3 of the dill on the bottom of the container. Generously sprinkle the skin side of 1 piece of salmon with about 1 Tbs of the sugar-salt curing mixture. Put it skin-side down on top of the dill. Sprinkle the flesh of that filet with another 1 to 1.5 Tbs of sugar-salt, and another 1/3 of the dill.
Holding the other piece of salmon flesh-side up, sprinkle the flesh side with about 1 Tbs of sugar-salt mixture, then put flesh-side down on top of the other piece of salmon. Pour the shots of aquavit/vodka over the top, and then sprinkle with another 1 Tbs of sugar-salt and 2 Tbs of dill. Set the rest of the sugar-salt aside for use in future batches of gravlax.
Cover with slack plastic wrap, and then set some kind of weight on top to press the salmon lightly (around 1-2lbs). Place in fridge for 24 hours. Take out, flip the bottom and top pieces together. Sprinkle the skin now facing up with 1/2 Tbs more sugar-salt mixture, replace plastic wrap, and put back in fridge for another 24 hours of curing.
At this point, the gravlax is ready, or it can be cured for 1 more day if you like. For additional curing, flip the filets again. If the salmon does not seem to be getting firm, feel free to sprinkle a little more curing mix on it.
When done curing, wash the salmon off with cold water and blot dry. Filet the skin off, and slice thinly on the bias. Decorate with a few sprigs of parsley. Will last in the fridge for a week to 10 days.