We Love Cooking! + sea salt

:: Swedish Gravadlax

Now earlier in the week I did come down a bit heavy on Sweden and their food culture, but I do have a big fondness for many parts of Swedish culture and cuisine. Whenever you talk to a Swede about the best time to visit Sweden, I could nearly almost guarantee they would say the summer. After a long cold winter the Swedes go all out for the summer with the highlight being the midsummer celebrations which take place on the 25th of June every year. With fields full of wild strawberries and crayfish pots heaving with luminous red critters, the Swedes certainly make the most of it. I have spent quite a lot of time in Sweden over the last few years and have got the opportunity to experience the country through all the different seasons, but despite the excitement of 5 feet of snow at Christmas, which let me add wears very thin when all you have on your cold Irish feet is a flimsy pair of Converse runners, the summer is always the season I look forward to the most.

I have a secret love affair with the fantastic warm lakes, complete with picture postcard jetties, the beautiful forests which are teaming with wild blueberries and big juicy yellow chanterelle mushrooms all ripe and ready for the picking. This week I was over to finish writing the recipes for my next book, and pick up a little Swedish food inspiration along the way. A few years ago I worked in a restaurant on an island just off Gothenberg and one of the things we regularly served up was big hearty slices of sweet and salty Gravadlax.

Swedish Gravadlax
Gravadlax is truly a thing of beauty, and although quite different in taste, is what I like to think of as Sweden‘s answer to our delicious smoked salmon! It sounds quite complicated but I’m here to tell you that isn’t the case and you can produce this seriously impressive dish with a minimal amount of hassle! The man I bought the fish from actually suggested using honey instead of sugar as he said it produces a slightly different taste, but it's up to you!

Serves about 12 portions
2 halves of salmon fillets
2 good handfuls of fresh dill, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons of sea salt
10 tablespoons of caster sugar
2 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl combine the dill, sea salt, caster sugar and ground black pepper corns.
Roll out a large piece of cling film and sprinkle the base with 1/3 of the dill mixture.
Place one side of the salmon skin side down on the dill mixture and top half the remaining mixture.
Place the last fillet on top flesh side down and sprinkle with the remaining dill mixture.
Wrap the salmon tightly with the cling film and give it an extra layer if you need to.
Place the wrapped parcel in a high sided dish and weight it down with a plate and some full cans or whatever heavy item you have to hand.
Leave the salmon to cure in the fridge for up to 5 days turning half way through. The dish will fill with juices but don’t be too concerned about draining them until you are ready to serve.
When you are ready to serve, remove the package from the dishes and wipe clean of the juices.
Separate the sides and slice thinly with a large knife.
Serve with freshly boiled potatoes and a side salad.

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:: Swedish Gravadlax + sea salt