As beautiful as it is delicious, and as easy as it is impressive!
It might seem completely overwhelming to cure your own salmon, but rest assured it is even easier than cooking salmon! Using beets means that you can cut down on some of the granulated sugar otherwise used in a standard gravlax with the added benefit of the resulting exquisite ombre color. The flavor is as vibrant as the color, and the texture is supple with an enticing fatty mouthfeel. Prep time is all of 15 minutes. Cure time is two days (but it can be three if you need it to be). Then slice, serve, and devour!
Essential equipment: cutting board; chef's or fish knife; 9 x 13 nonreactive baking dish (glass or ceramic); food processor; medium mixing bowl; dry measuring cup; measuring spoons; rubber spatula; plastic wrap; plate or small pan; latex gloves (optional)
A Note on Selecting Salmon
“The fattier the salmon, the better the gravlax. Atlantic salmon generally yields a much more flavorful and texturally pleasing gravlax than, say, Sockeye.”
Ingredients: 1, 3-4 pound filet of salmon 1 pound cooked red beets
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons cracked black pepper 1 bunch fresh dill, sprigs and stalks roughly chopped
It's About Technique, Not Torture!
1. In food processor, pulse the beets util they form a slush. Place the ground beets in a bowl with the salt, sugar, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
2. Place 1/3 of the beet mixture in the bottom of a nonreactive baking dish. Place the salmon filet, skin-side down, on top of this beet mixture. Place the remaining beet mixture on top of the salmon flesh and distribute evenly using a spatula (or your hands if wearing gloves). Sprinkle the top with the chopped dill.
3. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap. Place a plate or small sheet pan on top of the salmon and then weigh that down with a couple of cans or bottles--or a milk carton!--from your refrigerator.
4. Cure the salmon for a minimum 48 hours up to no more than 72 hours.
5. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and scrape away and discard the dill and beet mixture. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Cut the salmon into thin slices at an angle and serve immediately. Alternatively, you can store the whole salmon wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to one week in the refrigerator.
Serves 8 people.