16 Dec 2016 No Cook Savoury
Gravadlax is a dish of salmon cold-cured in salt, sugar and flavourings (traditionally dill) over a few days. Weighing down the fish is important so as to extract liquid (which the salt and sugar then absorb). This is very much worth the wait, particularly when served with hot and sour cucumber and other tasty trimmings. It makes an impressive course for a dinner party or family lunch. If you can’t find toasted sesame seeds, just use regular ones.
Toss the salt, sugar, lemongrass and chilli together in a medium bowl. Lay a double layer of cling film, large enough to completely wrap around the piece of fish, on a work surface. Spread half the salt mixture in the centre and sit the salmon fillet on top, skin- side down. Massage the grated ginger into the flesh all over the top, then sprinkle evenly with the remaining salt mixture.
Wrap the cling film around to enclose the salmon tightly and place in a deep-sided dish or tray. Top with a smaller tray or plate and weigh down with heavy objects like full cans of food. Place in the fridge and leave to cure for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours. Turn the salmon parcel over every 12 hours or so.
For the hot and sour cucumber, pour the lime juice into a medium bowl. Add the vinegar, honey, sesame seeds and chilli flakes, and stir together well. Halve the cucumber lengthways, de-seed with a teaspoon and cut into 5mm slices. Toss in the dressing and set aside until needed. This can be prepared up to a week in advance and kept in the fridge.
When almost ready to serve, fill the kettle with water and put it on to boil.
Lay the noodles in a wide dish and pour over enough just- boiled water to cover. Cover and leave to soak for 8–10 minutes (or according to the packet instructions) until tender, stirring halfway through. Remove the cling film from the salmon. Using kitchen paper, wipe off the salt mixture and any juices. Slice thinly with a long sharp knife, leaving the skin behind.
When the noodles are tender, drain them well. They are delicious served warm with the salmon, or can be rinsed under cold running water if you would prefer them cool. Arrange them on a long serving platter and top with the salmon slices in an overlapping row. Spoon some of the cucumber down the centre, drizzle with some of the dressing and serve the remaining cucumber and dressing in a small bowl. Sprinkle with some of the wasabi peas, serving the remainder in a small bowl. Garnish with the crispy onions, if using, and finish with scattered coriander leaves. Arrange everything on the table for everyone to help themselves.
For a twist…
Omit the crispy onions and wasabi peas to make this gluten- free. Serve with cashew nuts instead.
Serve on toasts as canapés, with or without cream cheese or a salmon mousse.
Use capers instead of wasabi peas.
Replace the coriander with dill, which also works well with salmon.
This is taken from my book, The No-Cook Cookbook, available in all great bookstores worldwide and on Amazon.
Photo (c) Cristian Barnett.
500g rock salt
225g caster sugar
4 lemongrass sticks, thinly sliced
2 red chillies, thinly sliced
20cm length of very fresh salmon fillet from the thick end (about 800g), skin on, trimmed, pin- boned and scaled
2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
500g thin rice noodles
50g wasabi peas, roughly chopped
2 tbsp crispy onions (optional)
Small handful of fresh coriander leaves
HOT AND SOUR CUCUMBER:
Juice of 2 limes
100ml rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp clear honey
4 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
Deep-sided baking dish or non-metallic tray
Smaller tray or plate to fit inside
About 4 heavy objects like full food cans