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Chunky gravlax

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This is a recipe that was sent to Holly Cooks subscribers on New Year’s Eve, I wanted to share it with everyone now.  To receive my recipes the moment they are published, enter your email at the bottom of this post.

I hope you are all looking forward to your ideal New Year’s Eve or Hogmanay as it’s called here in Edinburgh. Whether this is partying hard, celebrating with good food and good friends, or sleep soundly in bed. This chunky gravlax is an ideal canapé for a party or celebratory meal, or even New Year’s Eve. It looks very special, tastes super treaty and it really is easy to prepare. You do need to start your preparations 24-hours in advance but the end result is more than worth it.

In case you are not familiar with it, here’s a bit of an explanation about gravlax. You take a raw fillet of fish, usually salmon, wrap it up with salt, sugar and herbs and leave to cure for 24-hours. It’s the salt that does most of the work because it removes water from the fish which also has the effect of halting the growth of unwanted microorganisms. By contrast, the sugar enhances the life chances of ‘good’ bacteria and the end result is a cured fish that will last for a long time – assuming it doesn’t get eaten first.

Traditionally, gravlax is served in thin slices. Here I serve it in chunks because this canapé is about a bold and gutsy taste. I serve it on or with buttered bread, which is cut to the approximate thickness of the fish. This bread base gives a balance to the richness of the gravlax and creates an overall depth of flavour. Because it is such a rich canapé, you won’t need many per person – say 4 or 5.

Chunky gravlax recipe

800g/1lb12oz of fresh salmon from your usual wet fish source, filleted but with the skin left on
25g/1/2oz both of fresh mint and dill – stalks removed and finely chopped
zest of an orange and a lemon
5 tbsp salt
5 tbsp sugar
6 juniper berries – crushed or finely chopped
3 thick slices of generously buttered bread with crusts removed

Makes 48 canapé
Serves 10

1. Put the prepared mint, dill and juniper berries into a smallish bowl. Add on the zest, sugar and salt and mix well. Leave aside.
2. Turning your salmon into gravlax involves making a “gravlax sandwich” and so start by cutting your fillet lengthways leaving two matching halves both with skin on.
3. Place one fillet half in the centre of a large sheet of grease proof paper, skin side down, and spread on the herb mix.
4. Add your second fillet half, placing it flesh-side down on top of the herb mix so as to form a “gravlax sandwich”, and wrap the whole firmly in the grease proof paper.
5. As the salt will cause water to leave the fish and because you need that, by now, salty and flavoured water for the curing process, wrap again in two layers of cling film. Place this in a suitable size container that allows you to add some weights (tinned foods, flour in a watertight bag,etc) that push down on the package. Put the whole thing in the fridge for 24-hours turning over once after 12-hours.
6. If needed, drain your package over the sink by cutting a hole in one corner, before unpacking your two fillets of gravlax. To make up the canapé, first skin the fillets which is easily done now it is cured. Use kitchen roll to dab dry the gravlax and remove some of the herb mix remains. Then cover the buttered bread with gravlax before cutting into canapé sized morsels of, say, 2cm/3/4″ x 3cm/11/4″ and serving.

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