Friday, February 11, 2011

Gravlax [=buried salmon]



Apparently gravlax is cured salmon. I'd never heard the term until I recently saw it on a blog post, referred to over and over again, and had no idea what the author was talking about. Finally, at the recipe portion of her post, she referred to Mark Bittman's Minimalist version of gravlax, and at the beginning of his column, he explained it. What? Minimalist cured salmon? Sweet, I have to try it!

Bittman's version, I believe, is the basic, fundamental version of gravlax: you just cure it with salt, sugar, and dill. After I put it aside to cure, though, I started worrying about parasites and looked up some information on what to do with salmon to deal with that if you're not going to cook it (as I wasn't). In the end, I found a discussion of the freezing conditions recommended by the FDA, which said to freeze for 7 days at -4 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. -4F! Our freezer does not say how cold "9" on the dial is and we don't have a thermometer to put in it. And I wasn't going to go buy one just for this. (The salmon also hadn't been commercially frozen beforehand). Oh well, after the curing was done and washed away, I just turned our freezer up to 9, waited for 7 days, and hoped for the best.

After freezing, I took it out to defrost in the refrigerator and tried it out. It tasted great! A lot like some smoked salmons do, actually, despite the fact that it wasn't smoked. Definitely there are smokier salmons than others, and this would have been more like the less smoky ones. Anyway, not having had a salmon sandwich in a while (save for that mouth melting salmon and tuna ciabatta at Delicatus in Seattle this winter) I decided to use my gravlax for sandwiches.

I was pretty excited to have this sandwich. (plus some mustard) It was really soft! I wonder if the freezing has anything to do with that...

If I develop unusual medical concerns in the near future, tell House to check for parasites.

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