Dill cured salmon on freshly made rye

Gravad Lax is a Nordic specialty, a true delicacy. Try it once, and you will be hooked forever. Gravad Lax, means “buried salmon” and refers to the way the salmon was prepared back in the middle ages, when fishermen salted the salmon and then buried it in the sand, to preserve it .

But since the coming of the fridge, this is no longer part of the process 🙂 Today the fresh salmon is “buried” in a combination of salt, sugar and lots of dill. The salmon is then left in the fridge to cure for 2 days. When the fish is ready, it is served on a slice of freshly made rye bread (preferably the Danish variety) with a sweet Dijon dressing on top. This is the perfect appetizer or lunch and it is sure to make the angels sing and your taste buds dance.

A perfect way to get natural Omega 3.

I often make this for guests and it is a bestseller every time!

This time it started with a very fresh Coho salmon – but you can use any type and gravad halibut, is delicious too!

Dill cured salmon (Gravad Lax)

Equal amounts of salt and sugar, e.g., 2 tablespoons of each.

Generous amounts (heaping handful) of freshly chopped dill

Cut the salmon in half lengthwise and remove any bones – or a more easy option is to buy it ready to go, at your local fishmonger. Please use is natural (wild) and not farmed salmon, the fresher the better!

Place your half salmon on top of a piece of cling film, skin side down. In a bowl combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of salt and mix well. Sprinkle a thin layer of the salt and sugar mixture evenly on the salmon (I use about half of this mixture to a medium size half salmon) when covered, add freshly chopped dill, making sure the dill has been carefully washed and dried beforehand, add generous amounts of dill to the fish, to cover it completely

Cover the fish with cling film and turn it around so the skin side is up – put the salmon in the fridge and leave it in a dish to cure for two days.

When ready make a sweet Dijon dressing to serve on top

5 teaspoons of good Dijon mustard

6-8 teaspoons of raw sugar – maybe more if you like it even sweeter

1/3 cup of olive oil

A good bunch of freshly chopped dill

Mix it all together to make the marinade. You can add a bit of creme fraiche (sour creme) to make it creamy and mild , if you like.

Thinly slice the salmon

And serve on a piece of freshly made rye bread

with the Dijon marinade on top

Homemade rye bread click here

Cedar Planked Salmon on the BBQ

Coming from Scandinavia I have been used to only one kind of salmon. Beautiful salmon, and it was simple to shop because you never had to choose between different kinds.

But here on the West Coast there is always the dilemma – a hard choice every time, between 5 different species of salmon: Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink and Chum (as well as the wonderful Steelhead salmon/trout) – all wonderful in different ways.

For this recipe I chose wild Sockeye – deep orange and with a beautiful taste, perfect for cooking on the cedar plank. Preparing salmon in this way is new to me as I have never seen it done this way before. But after trying it once, it has become a favourite. The taste, when it has been BBQed on the cedar plank, is just incredible – beyond comparison, and difficult to even describe in words.

 

Cedar planked salmon with tarragon and dill

one side of salmon

one bunch of fresh tarragon

one bunch of fresh dill

one shallot

1/2 cup of olive oil

freshly squeezed lemon

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Soak the cedar plank for several hours in water before use – I soak it all day to get it ready. Here on the West Coast where Cedar grows all over, it is easy to buy the planks – all ready for the salmon. They are split very thin (8mm – 5/16″) and if buying elsewhere make sure you get a natural plank that has not been treated with anything! A plank can be re-used several times.

Place the salmon on the plank and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Put it on the hot grill. Cook it half-way through before adding the marinade.

Finely chop the fresh tarragon, dill and shallot onion, put it in a bowl and add the olive oil, add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Now pour the marinade on top of the salmon and continue cooking til the salmon is just done – make sure not to overcook it! (Check this by  gently pressing a finger on the thickest part of the salmon – it has to feel firm.) Depending on the thickness, it will be ready in about 15 -20 min .

I served the salmon with two favorite salads and just that – simple and delicious!  A Panzanella salad, a gorgeous salad with baked summer-ripe tomatoes and a green salad with celery leaves and pine nuts.

Panzanella salad

A fantastic flavorful salad and a perfect match to go with the fish.

6 sun ripe tomatoes

1/2 cucumber

1/2 small red onion

big bunch of Italian parsley

a good drizzle of olive oil

a sprinkle of good balsamic vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 slices of good but stale bread

Half the tomatoes and put them on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake them slowly for about an hour in a 350F oven, checking that they do not burn. Take them out and leave them to cool.

Half the cucumber and scrape out the middle, slice it and put it in a salad bowl. Add the cool tomatoes, wash and chop the parsley and add it to the bowl. Finely chop the red onion add it to the salad – drizzle with the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

Put a few drops of garlic oil on the bread and grill them slightly on the BBQ or in the oven. Tear the bread into smaller pieces and toss it in the salad – mix well so the bread soaks up the flavors and the juices of the salad. Serve it with the fish.

Green salad with celery and pine nuts

Use different kinds of lettuce – a great mixture of your favorites.

A few stick of celery – preferably the middle of the celery with its leaves

2 spoons of pine nuts

dressing

This dressing is a classic that has been in my family forever – we use it, let me just say, a lot
The trick is to use the best ingredients – the better the ingredients the better the dressing.

2 spoons of good balsamic vinegar
a teaspoon of good Dijon Mustard
a pinch of sea salt

olive oil
one clove of freshly squeezed garlic

Mix this – then add a little olive oil while you constantly stir, add more olive oil while stirring – continue doing this till you have a thick, dark yummy dressing. You can add a little maple syrup for a sweetness if you like. This salad dressing is so good and so easy to make.

Wash and prepare the lettuce add them In a bowl. Chop the celery stick and leaves, add them to the salad, add the dressing and mix well – sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve with the fish.

Salmon carpaccio

Salmon carpaccio is one of my favorites.  Somehow, summertime and salmon carpaccio is a perfect match.  It’s like they are made for each other. Served with some good bread and a cool drink outside in the company of good friends and family, what more can you really ask for?

In Western Canada (BC), we are privileged to have 5 different species of salmon, Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink and Chum (as well as the wonderful Steelhead salmon/trout) – all beautiful fish and no matter which one you choose, it is always incredible summer food.

For this recipe I used Sockeye – right out of the sea. The most important, make sure the fish is fresh – real fresh!

With a sharp long fish knife, cut paper-thin slices of the salmon – start from the tail and work your way up. Arrange the slices on a plate, sprinkle with sea salt, drizzle with good olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, add some finely chopped shallots, some finely chopped fresh dill and some caper berries. Before serving add some freshly ground pepper. You can serve it immediately or you can cover it and leave it in the fridge till you are ready to serve.

This is perfect for lunch, delicious as a starter or as a main course served with a green salad.