Gravlax can be the centerpiece of simple-yet-elegant appetizers, first courses and salads. It’s delicious for breakfast or brunch, served with brown bread, cucumber slices, capers, red onions and mustard sauce (much more delicious than lox in my opinion). Toss it into warm potato salad or pasta. Mouthwatering.
Making It Easy
Gravlax, pronounced GRAHV-locks, is a Swedish-style cured salmon made by coating a fresh salmon fillet with a salt-sugar-fresh dill rub. Sometimes spices — such as cracked white peppercorns or brined green peppercorns — are smeared on, too, as well as a splash of brandy, gin or aquavit (a Scandinavian liquor distilled from potatoes or grain, often flavored with caraway seed).
WATCH the short video to see how easy it is to prepare, and take in the versatile, unexpected sauce to accompany it.
A traditional Swedish way to serve it is thinly sliced, accompanied with a sauce made of mustard, oil, sugar, wine vinegar and lots of chopped dill. I’ve included that recipe here. But I encourage you to try a tasty New World inspired Chipotle chili-based sauce. It’s a versatile sauce, slightly spicy but wonderous in its creaminess; it’s great on everything from grilled chicken to hamburgers. But to my way of thinking, gravlax is its biggest star.
Make gravlax. You will be impressed with its ease of preparation, versatility, and delectability. Honest.
Gravlax Appetizers with Chipotle Sauce
Yield: serves 10-12 as appetizer
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons cracked white peppercorns
2 1/2 to 3 pounds skin-on salmon fillet, in 1 piece, any pin bones removed
2-3 large bunches fresh dill, coarsely chopped (including stems)
2 (good-sized) canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (be sure they are well coated with adobo)
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed or chopped
Garnish: chopped chives, or microgreens, or parsley
For serving: 1 baguette, thinly sliced, lightly brushed with extra-virgin olive oil on one side, briefly broiled oil-side-up, about 8” from broiler element in oven until nicely browned on one side (1 to 1 1/2 minutes does the trick in my oven(keep an eye on them – they can turn black in a wink of an eye).
Cook’s notes: Gravlax will keep in the refrigerator (airtight) 5 days. Leftovers can be frozen (that have the coating wiped away – ok some coating will remain), wrapped in plastic, then in aluminum foil, up to 1 month.
1. Prepare Gravlax: Check salmon for pin bones. Combine sugar, salt and pepper in small bowl and mix well. Place salmon in shallow nonreactive dish and rub handful of salt mixture into both sides of fish. Sprinkle with remaining mixture on top and cover with dill. Place in zipper-style bag, press out air and seal. Place on rimmed baking sheet or pan that allows it to lay flat. Put a weight on top – can be a pot filled with water or a large can or two cans set on plate.
2. Place in refrigerator 3 to 4 days to cure.
3. Up to one day ahead, prepare sauce. Place chipotle chilies in food processor; pulse to finely mince. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Transfer to container and refrigerate airtight. (The sauce will keep up to 5 days refrigerated.)
4. Scrape seasoning off gravlax. Cut on diagonal into thin slices, turning knife parallel to board when you reach the skin. (If you slice it well in advance of serving, place plastic wrap over gravlax and refrigerate.) Place gravlax atop toasted baguette slices and top with a small spoonful of chipotle sauce. Garnish with microgreens, chives or parsley.
Source: The Chipotle Sauce was taught to me by cookbook author Hugh Carpenter