Sunday, 19 December 2010

A scandinavian life saver

Though I usually treat this time of the year as one long excuse to pamper myself with a bit of culinary luxury, there is a point at which it all becomes a bit much. Which is where gravadlax comes in.

This is now something of an institution for me at Christmas. While the rest of the family tuck into a Tudor-style feast of roasted meats, gravadlax has become my go-to dish for satisfying those protein urges that take hold after the consumption of a scandalous amount of chocolate.

It's a treat but without being too heavy, too rich, too filling, or too creamy. Eaten with some austere dark rye bread it can pull you back from the brink of overindulgence in the blink of an eye. In short it's a life saver.

Gravadlax with vodka and lime and a mustard sauce

Serves 4 as a starter

A large salmon fillet (about 500g)
60g golden caster sugar
100g coarse rock or flaked salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
6 tsp vodka
the zest of a 2 lemons and 2 limes
a large handful of chopped dill (about 40g)

~for the mustard sauce

1 tbsp white wine vinegar
5 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp english mustard
1 tbsp water
2 tsp chopped dill
½ tsp caster sugar and a pinch of salt

1) Wash and dry the salmon, making sure that there are no bones. Now set aside two tablespoons of the dill, then mix together all the other ingredients and slather over the salmon. Give it a little massage to work it in properly.

2) Wrap the salmon as tightly as you can in several layers of cling film, then place in a shallow dish and leave something heavy on top to weight it down. I used a small plate with a few cans balanced on top. Leave for 2-3 days in the fridge.

3) Unwrap the salmon and discard the juices. Scrape off the marinade, rinse under a cold tap then dry thoroughly and scatter over the reserved dill. To make the sauce simply whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Slice the salmon as thinly as you can and eat with dark rye bread or plain boiled potatoes.

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