Contributor, Melissa Goncalves is back, and she’s upped the ante. Last week, you opted out (or did you?) of pancake mix or certainly, those God-awful microwavable ones and made some delicious blueberry pancakes from scratch. You’ve gotten some practice under your belt, and it’s now time for your follow-up act – you’re going to do a whole breakfast spread. You’ve got this. Remember, we’re not trying to impose a new hobby on you because “foodie culture” is trendy. Cooking is a life skill, and SwipeLife just wants you to excel a bit more from your already awesome self. In all fairness, this Gravlax recipe is going to challenge you.
Last week we sojourned through our culinary past, conjuring up wistful memories of pancakes served on Sunday mornings. If last week was a trip down memory lane, this week will surely take you into uncharted culinary waters. Gravlax, the Scandinavian way to start the day, involves the medieval practice of curing raw salmon over a course of a few days to produce silky silvers of the ruby, flesh-tone fish. Its melting texture will have you wanting for more. I far more prefer its flavor to smoked salmon, and it is easily done it the comfort of your home. Traditionally, gravlax is served on thin, toasted pumpernickel or rye, with sprinkling of lemon, a sprig of dill, and a duvet of mustard sauce. That is it. Its unassuming presentation allows for the cured salmon to be the star of the show. If that is too simple for you, there are accoutrements that you can accompany the fish without detracting from its flavor.
Option One: Thinly slice up a raw onion. Yes, I said raw, yellow onion. Spread the sliced salmon on a platter. Scatter the onion atop the salmon. Then scatter capers atop that. Finish off with a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
Option Two: A more New York approach to gravlax. Run out early morning and pick up some sesame seed bagels. Arrange the in the following manner: sliced tomatoes, springs of watercress for a spicy bite, capers, sliced red onion, an a tub of illustrious Philadelphia cream cheese.
Whichever way you approach it, is simply a matter of taste. What is really big here is that making gravlax will get you in touch with the simplicity and the forthrightness of food. Not to mention you will be tapping into an aged-old Scandinavian tradition. Oh, and you will look like a bonafide epicurean to boot.
The Key: Buy exceptional salmon. I would suggest Wild-Sockeye Salmon. The coloring of the fish is beautiful; a bright, show-stopping red, it is sure to please the eye when you uncover it from its curing rest.
3 pounds fresh salmon, center cut
1 large bunch of dill, plus 1/4 cup chopped dill for serving
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons white peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
Pumpernickel bread, for serving
Mustard Sauce, recipe follows
Cut the salmon in half crosswise and place half the fish skin side down in a deep dish.
Wash and shake dry the dill and place it on the fish.
Combine the salt, sugar, crushed peppercorns, and fennel seeds in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly over the piece of fish.
Place the other half of salmon over the dill, skin side up.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Place a smaller pan on top of the foil and weight it with some heavy cans.
Refrigerate the salmon for at least 2 and up to 3 days, turning it every 12 hours and basting it with the liquid that collects. (Mr. Samuelsson of Red Rooster suggests letting it cure for 6 hours at room temperature before refrigerating.)
Lay each piece of salmon flat on a cutting board, remove the bunch of dill, and sprinkle the top with chopped dill. With a long thin slicing knife, slice the salmon in long thin slices as you would for smoked salmon..
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Combine the mustards, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl.
Slowly whisk in the oil and stir in the chopped dill.
Serve with the gravlax.
Yields: 3/4 cup
This is not customary but if you would like a heartier breakfast to start your day, gravlax works well with scallion pancakes (pancakes, so versatile!) ,and a rich scramble of eggs. Please see below!
Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Dill
1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 scallions, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup corn starch or all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving
Shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk.
Transfer the zucchini to a fine mesh strainer and set over a bowl.
Toss the zucchini with the salt and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Wring all of the excess liquid out of the zucchini with your hands, then set aside.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl.
Mix in the dried zucchini, scallions, dill, feta, garlic and black pepper.
Sprinkle the corn starch and baking powder over mixture and stir until uniformly incorporated.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Drop 2-tablespoon sized portions into the pan, then use the back of a spoon to gently press the batter into 2-inch-wide fritters.
Pan-fry until golden brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side.
Transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels.
Return the skillet to medium heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, and repeat with remaining batter.
Serve warm or room temperature with lemon wedges.
Chive Scrambled Eggs
Chive, scallions, and dill, are pretty perfect trifecta of flavors. You wont be muddying the waters with these side dishes. The Gravlax will be able to keep the spotlight, which you want because you just spent 48 hrs working on it. Let it shine. Let it shine.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 cup chives, chopped
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
In frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
In a small bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and heavy cream.
Pour the egg/cream mixture into the frying pan, and, using a spatula, lightly stir the mixture together.
Cook the eggs, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the chives and cook for another 10-15 seconds, stirring constantly.
Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.