I love salmon, and one of my favourite ways to prepare it is as gravlax.
Gravlax is a Nordic (Norwegian and Swedish) cured salmon dish, where the fish is cured in a mixture of salt and sugar, usually with dill, and is then consumed raw. If you love smoked salmon, you will most likely love this fish preparation as well.
The name gravlax means “buried salmon”. In medieval times, and possibly even earlier, the raw fish (not just salmon, but also herrings and other oily fish) was buried in holes in the ground and left to ferment as a means of preserving the fish for consumption during the winter when food was scarce.
Modern gravlax is not buried in the ground, and is not fermented. Instead it is cured in salt (and usually sugar), in the fridge for a few days.
It is very simple to make and tastes delicious. Don’t be put off by the fact that is is served raw, it has a texture very similar to smoked salmon. It is also safe to eat the fish raw as long as it has been frozen for a minimum of 7 days as this kills any parasites that may be in the flesh. You could also buy sushi-grade salmon to be extra safe.
This recipe is AIP friendly, and because the fish has not been cooked, it is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, so very good for you.
Use it just as you would smoked salmon. It is excellent as an appetizer, as a light main-course and the leftovers are great for breakfast. I often add leftover gravlax to scrambled eggs.
My recipe for gravlax is loosely based on a recipe in Cured by Lindy Wildsmith. I cut out the sugar for this cure to make it Paleo/AIP and added a small amount of honey for a little sweetness.
To make this strict AIP, you would need to omit the black pepper which is a stage 1 reintroductoin. If you have managed to reintroduce it and know you are not sensitive to it, it does add a touch of spice however. When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.
- 2 x 2¼lb (1kg) pieces of wild-caught salmon fillet (skin on) – previously frozen for a minimum of 7 days then defrosted
- 4 tbsp coarse sea salt
- 4 tsp ground black pepper (omit if sensitive or strict AIP)
- 2 tbsp honey – preferably raw and local
- 1 bunch of dill finely chopped
Thaw the salmon in the refrigerator, then check carefully for any pinbones, removing them with a pair of tweezers.
Mix the salt, pepper, honey and dill together. You may need to warm your honey to make it liquid if it is the creamed, solid kind.
Place one piece of salmon skin-side down in a shallow dish and spread the salt mixture evenly over the flesh.
Top with the second piece of salmon, flesh side down. Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, turn the fish over so that the top piece is now on the bottom, recover and replace in the refrigerator for another 24 hours.
After this time, wipe off the salt mixture,
sprinkle the top of the fish with a little extra chopped dill, slice thinly on the diagonal, leaving the skin behind, and serve.
If you want to serve fewer people than 12, you could halve the recipe, just using one piece of fish that you cut in half lengthwise to give 2 similarly shaped pieces of fish. I usually make the recipe just as it is though as we love this fish so much that we will happily eat all of it. Any leftover sliced fish will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Shared at Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable #24
Shared at Real Food Fridays #36
Shared at Fight Back Friday May 2nd