This satiny delicacy brings out the best in salmon.
Satiny salt-cured salmon is easier to achieve at home than you might think. Serve for brunch with hashbrowns and a kicky dill-mustard sauce.
Yield: serves 8-10
- 2 tbsp. white peppercorns
- 1 tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp. caraway seeds
- 2⁄3 cup kosher salt
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 2 lb. center-cut, skin-on salmon filet
- 1 cup dill sprigs, plus 1/3 cup chopped dill
- 1⁄4 cup aquavit (optional)
- Mustard-Dill Sauce
- In a small food processor, pulse peppercorns, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds until coarsely ground; combine with salt and sugar. Stretch plastic wrap over a plate; sprinkle with half the salt mixture. Place salmon filet on top, flesh side up. Cover with remaining salt mixture, dill sprigs, and aquavit.
- Fold plastic wrap ends around salmon; wrap tightly with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate the fish on the plate for 48-72 hours, turning the package every 12 hours and using your fingers to redistribute the herb-and-spice-infused brine that accumulates as the salt pulls moisture from the salmon. The gravlax should be firm to the touch at the thickest part when fully cured.
- Unwrap salmon, discarding the spices, dill, and brine. Rinse the filet under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Cover a large plate with the chopped dill. Firmly press the flesh side of the gravlax into the dill to coat it evenly.
- Place gravlax skin side down on a board. With a long, narrow-bladed knife (use a granton slicer if you have one; the divots along the blade make for smoother, more uniform slices), slice gravlax against grain, on the diagonal, into thin pieces. Serve with mustard-dill sauce or on knackebrod with minced onion. Refrigerate any remaining gravlax, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks.