Think of it as a Scandinavian treat. And no, I'm not referring to some Swedish movie actress, but to gravlax, a tasty dish of trout or salmon cured in dill and salt. Thinly sliced and served on rye bread or crackers—with a sprinkling of capers and a drop or two of lemon juice—gravlax is always a hit with guests. And it's easy to make. Here's how.
- 1 trout or salmon, ideally weighing between 5 and 10 lbs
- Non-iodized pickling salt
- Fresh dill weed
- Fillet the fish, then lift off the rib bones with a thin, sharp knife such as the Rapala filleting knife. Use needle-nose pliers, or a hemostat, to remove any remaining bones, one at a time. This is easy to do if you pull in the direction the bone is pointing while compressing the flesh on either side.
- In a pan lined with waxed paper, spread a thin layer of coarse, non-iodized pickling salt and cover liberally with fresh dill weed. Then place a fillet, flesh side down, in the pan on top of the dill and salt; spread another thin layer of salt and dill overtop the skin.
- Lay a second fillet, flesh side down, on top of the first fillet; spread another thin layer of salt and dill on its skin side. Repeat the entire process for up to four fillets per pan, depending on their size (if the fillets are more than an inch thick, limit them to two to a pan).
- Cover the last, or top, fillet with a double layer of waxed paper. Then place another pan or a board on top, weighing it down with a couple of bricks or something equally heavy.
- For fillets less than an inch thick, wait 10 to 12 hours for the fish to cure; for larger fillets, wait 12 to 15 hours. Once they are cured (a fork should easily penetrate the largest section), wipe the fillets with a clean damp cloth to remove any excess salt—and enjoy.
- Refrigerated, gravlax will remain tasty for up to a month, or much longer if sealed in airtight packaging and frozen.