By Libby Geboy
Gravlax is a salty, sweet way to prepare fish, specifically salmon or trout. Originally from Sweden, the traditional way to prepare a whole side of fish involves wrapping the fillet in dill or pine needles (neither of which I used in this recipe out of personal preference). Feel free to wrap the fish with them and let it marinate in the greenery.
This recipe can be modified in many ways, using whatever spices you have on hand, like bay leaves, coriander, dill, caraway, fennel seeds (add about one tablespoon per filet of each spice) and brown or white sugar.
Only use the freshest of fish, as the fillet isn’t fully “cooked” but rather it is cured. I find my fish at the local farmer’s market, where I can count on the fish being clean and healthy up to its harvest. The vendor had told me that the fish I was purchasing had been swimming in fresh water until the day before it was caught, so I bought it!
The fish can marinate for up to 48 hours, but needs to be marinating for at least eight. It can be stored for a few days, but if it starts to smell funny before then, just get rid of it. It’s easy to eat on toast with sour cream, dill sprigs and a squeeze of lemon, so I bet it’ll be gone in no time!
1 medium-large filet of trout (or salmon)
1/3 cup natural honey
1/3 cup coarse grain salt
2 tablespoons cracked black or white pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar
Remove any pin bones that are along the thick side of the fish, careful not to disrupt the flesh as much as possible. Trim any fins or excess skin that might be on the sides of the filet. Place into a sheet of plastic wrap that will be big enough to wrap the fish in.
In a bowl, mix together the honey, salt, pepper, sugar and any other spices you are using. Rub onto the fish, massaging it gently. Place the fish onto the plastic wrap, skin side down. If using dill/pine, place a mass of it on top of the fish flesh. Tightly wrap the fish in plastic wrap, using another layer to fully wrap the fish. Put the wrapped fish into a shallow baking pan (I used a bread pan, as it fit the length of my fish), or a plate. This is so any liquid that escapes is caught in your drip pan.
Let the fish marinate for at least eight hours (but up to 48) in your refrigerator. When ready, open the wrapping, and remove the fillet. If desired, wash off the fillet to remove excess honey/salt. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the fish, avoiding the skin.
Serve chilled, on top of toast with sour cream, more dill, a squeeze of lemon, with chives, or with oranges in a salad.