Saturday, December 29, 2007


Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Gravlax is a great do-ahead brunch item, so consider it for New Year's Day. Remember it takes 2 days to prepare, but most of that time the salmon is curing, nothing for you to do. Serve it with a sweet mustard sauce, some black bread or rye and a salad and start the party!

1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon crushed fennel seeds
1 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds
1 side fresh salmon (3 pounds)
2 tablespoons lemon vodka
1 3/4 cup fresh fennel fronds or fresh dill

In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, pepper, and fennel and coriander seeds and set aside. If necessary, remove the pin bones from the salmon. Cut side in half crosswise. Put one side of salmon skin-side down in a glass baking dish (not aluminum). Drizzle on 1/2 the Vodka. Sprinkle on 1/2 the sugar mixture top with fennel fronds. Do the same to the flesh side of the other piece of salmon and then lay it on top, flesh-to-flesh. Cover with plastic wrap. Set dish on top of salmon and weight with 2 heavy cans. Refrigerate for 24 hours. After 24 hours, flip over fish, baste with juices, place weights back on top, and return to the fridge.

When ready to serve, remove weights and plastic wrap, scrape off fennel and seeds and pat dry. Serve at room temp and slice thin on the diagonal. Serve with sauce made with Dijon mustard, honey and fresh dill — sour cream will mellow it a little. Garnish with diced red onion and capers and serve with black bread, if you can find it. And what kind of salad? How about watercress, shaved fennel, grapefruit segments, and a sweet poppyseed dressing.