Although gravlax started out as a fermented dish, intended for long-term preservation, it is possible -- as Julia Child and many others have showed -- to use a quick cure to make an easier version. The basic idea is to slice the fish thinly so it will need significantly less curing time. You won't get the unique texture of traditionally cured gravlax, but the flavor and consistency will be very nice nonetheless. Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad likes to flavor the fish with a little star anise and dill.
Because the fish is not cooked, it is important that you use sushi-quality fish. Serve with dark rye bread and honey mustard or mustard sauce. Capers, chopped onion and fresh or pickled cucumbers are also a good match.
Make Ahead: The fish needs to cure in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 1 pound sushi-grade skinless salmon
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 or 2 tablespoons vodka
- 4 or 5 dill fronds, for garnish
Rinse the fish thoroughly in cold water, then use paper towels to pat dry.
Use a mortar and pestle to crush the star anise; place the spice in a mini food processor, along with the sugar and salt. Pulse until finely ground.
Sprinkle a large serving plate with about half of the sugar-spice mixture.
Cut the fish on the diagonal into very thin slices. Lay them on top of the mixture, spacing them closely together but not allowing them to wrinkle or overlap. Sprinkle with the remaining mixture and vodka to taste. Cover directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
Before serving, coarsely chop the dill. Remove the plastic wrap from the serving plate and sample the salmon. If there is a small puddle in the middle of the plate, use a spoon or blot with a paper towel to remove it. Sprinkle with dill and serve.
From Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad.
Tested by Sarah Meyer Walsh.
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