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Put All That Salt to Good Use: Southwestern Gravlax

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Monday we introduced you to Sloane Burwell's salt obsession. Yesterday we told you where to get your own salts. Today we'll put those various salts to the culinary test.

Want a perfect recipe for your newfound salt obsession? Try gravlax. Chef Carol Blonder, resident chef and culinary advisor at Sur La Table at Kierland Commons, created a special recipe for us. Salmon, salt, and tequila -- sounds like Heaven.

Southwestern Gravlax Recipe by Carol Blonder

Gravlax is a traditional Scandinavian reparation for salt- and sugar-cured salmon flavored with dill and aquavit. The name comes from gravard (buried) and lax (salmon), as its early preparation was a process of fermenting the salmon by burying it in cold ground. Through the centuries, this process evolved to the curing method we use today.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless salmon fillet, skin on
  • ¼ cup black peppercorns, crushed
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch dill weed
  • ½ cup tequila

Garnishes: chopped cilantro, minced red onion or thinly sliced scallions and lime wedges

Equipment: Cheesecloth, two tray pans with sides, if possible one smaller than the other, baking rack to fit inside tray pans

Directions: Combine crushed peppercorns, kosher salt, and brown sugar

Rough chop cilantro and dill

Cut salmon fillet into two equal pieces

Coat salmon pieces with salt-sugar-peppercorn mixture

Coat salmon pieces with chopped herbs

Lay fish, skin side down, on cheesecloth or plastic wrap

Sprinkle to coat with tequila

After alcohol is absorbed, sandwich two pieces of salmon together, flesh side to flesh side

Wrap in cheesecloth or plastic wrap

Place on a baking rack, and place rack on half sheet pan

Place a smaller pan or plate over fish and weight with large food cans, making sure the weight is evenly distributed

Place fish in coldest part of refrigerator

Every 24 hours, turn fish over and drain excess liquid from pan

After 72 hours, remove cheesecloth or plastic wrap, and scrap off sugar-salt-peppercorns and herbs

Using a fish knife or thin carving knife, slice fish in very thin slices

Keep knife at a 45-degree angle while slicing fish

Serve gravlax with garnishes and pumpernickel bread

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