The Hippy Gourmet's Quick & Simple Cookbook
In Scandinavian languages, gravlax means "buried salmon." Historically this dish was, quite literally, cured inside a hole in the ground. These days, our fish doesn't sleep with the fishes; we use a refrigerator instead.
Makes A 3-Pound Fillet, Enough For 12-16 People
• 2 tablespoons crushed black pepper, divided
• 2 bunches whole fresh dill, divided
• 1 cup sea salt, divided
• 1 cup sugar, divided
• 3-pound fillet smoked salmon
• 1 English cucumber, sliced thin
• Pinch of table salt
• White pepper, to taste
• Enough rice vinegar (sweetened) to coat cucumbers
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
• 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 head butter lettuce
• 1 loaf Danish pumpernickel bread, sliced half-sandwich size
• Enough butter to thinly coat bread
• 1 grapefruit, divided into segments
• 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
• 1 pomegranate
In a large pan, place half the black pepper, dill, sea salt, and sugar. Place the salmon on top of this mixture, tucking the ingredients under the fish. On top of the salmon, add the rest of the pepper, dill, sea salt, and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and weigh the salmon down with a heavy skillet or other evenly weighted heavy object. Refrigerate at least overnight and up to 4 days.
Remove the weight and the salmon from the pan. Scrape off any remaining salt, sugar, and dill. Reserve the pan juices. Slice salmon paper-thin at an angle.
Preparing the Platter:
In a bowl, mix the cucumber slices, a pinch of salt, and white pepper to taste. Add enough rice vinegar to coat the cucumber. Add the minced dill and mix.
To make the sauce, in a separate bowl mix the mayonnaise, Dijon, and enough reserved dill juice to make a thin consistency.
Lay large, outside butter lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Butter the pumpernickel bread slices. Lay them over the large leaves, butter-side up. Lay smaller, inside lettuce leaves atop the bread. Arrange the salmon on top of the lettuce. Add the remaining reserved salmon sauce. In the middle of the platter, arrange the marinated cucumbers. Arrange the grapefruit segments, avocado, and pomegranates decoratively over the dish.
To serve, place a fork and spoon on the communal platter, and allow guests to pick out bread, fish, and vegetables in whatever combination they wish.