I’m a little behind, but still wanted to complete this recipe. It ended up as a New Year’s brunch offering, as well as a light dinner. I have resolved (we’ll see how long this lasts) to only eat home made bread this year (which so far means that I’ve baked more bread, not eaten less…), so made some pumpernickel bread for both times. More on that later.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Gravalx, but my Mom is, and one of my nieces at restaurants can almost always be counted on to order salmon, since “you can never really go wrong with salmon”. Often she’s right. My folks used to make this, so I knew that it would be a fun “project”. Essentially, salmon fillets are covered with a spice mixture including sugar and salt, then herbs, and them pressed and chilled to “cure” it. This was then to be served with a mustard sauce, and ideally, some pumpernickel (or maybe I just made that part up because it sounded good).
Even though I was going to be serving this twice, it’s still a rich dish, so I ended up with a couple of smaller center sections of some wild coho salmon. I love coho (and have caught more than a few), though probably King or other larger salmon would actually work better. But this looked nice, and thought it would be ok. The spices get mixed, the dill gets chopped. And it all gets assembled.
This all gets compressed and chilled for 48-72 hours. I decided I’d go for the longer curing time, thinking that the salmon would take on more flavor. Then it gets the brine (spice mixture) and herbs rinsed off before serving
As I said, this was to be served with mustard sauce, and some pumpernickel. I ended up having to rush at the end (after being texted “I’m starving!”), so not the most beautiful photos, but that’s how it happens sometimes. I did go off the plan and added some cream cheese and capers to the mix. Also, I had a difficult time slicing the salmon beautifully – partly because the fillets ended up being so thin – and probably some user error.
The results? This was fairly popular – my Mom termed it “fabulous!”, though I have to say that the bread was probably a more resounding hit with the crew in general. All of it was snapped up though, so it was well-enjoyed. What I’m unsure about is the mustard sauce. I think it was a bit overpowering, so I liked the salmon better on its own. I did like it by itself, just not in combination.
So – as a note about the bread. I actually made a half-recipe of the basic recipe in “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” using about 1/4 c of pumpernickel flavoring from King Arthur Flour. It has some rye, and then all of the caramel coloring and flavorings that you would use independently if you were making it with a traditional recipe. I know it sounds unconventional, but one of the main things that makes pumpernickel, well pumpernickel, is caramel coloring, so I’m ok with using the flavoring. Also, if you’re interested and don’t want to buy the book, a recipe can be found on the KAF site, or here, since I posted on the process earlier.