Gravlax – the house recipe

original recipes by walter and andreas vistad
preparation time: 45 minutes
marinating time: 1.5-3 days
emergency contact: carol

This is a recombination of Walter’s and Andreas Vistad’s gravlax recipes. Originally posted in 2008, it has been re-tested, updated, and was served this way Christmas eve 2015.

salmon – 2 fillets, 6 lb total, very fresh
fresh dill, chopped – lots
coarse sea salt – 1/4 cup
kosher salt – 1/4 cup
sugar – 1/2 cup
freshly ground black pepper – 5 tsp
coarsely chopped shallots – 1 1/2 cups
fresh bay leaves – 15-20, enough to cover fillet
olive oil – 1 1/2 cups
aquavit, brandy or cognac – 4 to 5 Tbsp

The ingredients are for both fillets, so use about half on each fillet.

Set up a working surface with a layer of plastic wrap over a layer of aluminum foil. Ensure that the sheets are large enough to completely wrap the fillet. Rinse the fillet, pat dry and place it on the working surface.

You’re ready to go now. Attack the fillet in the following manner, preferably with a “clean hands” sous chef to help.

1. Rub on salt + sugar + black pepper.
2. Rub on minced shallots.
3. Completely cover fillet with dill.
4. Have your sous chef drizzle several tablespoons of olive oil over the dill. This is best accomplished with you barking orders like “More over here!” and “Left corner! Left corner!” into the sous chef’s ear.
5. Spread a layer of bay leaves.
6. Oil up again, generously.
7. Sprinkle the booze on top.

Wrap the fillet tightly in the plastic wrap and aluminum foil, then wrap in one more layer of plastic wrap. The more hands, the better. Repeat with the second fillet.

Place the bundle in the fridge under something somewhat heavy (from experience, a bottle of white wine in a wooden box works very well) for 1.5-3 days. When ready to serve, take the fillet out of fridge, unwrap, brush off toppings, slice thinly and serve with lemon and capers.


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