Graflax (buried salmon) is fresh salmon which is cured in a marinade of spices, herbs, salt and sugar, achieving a decadent combination of magnificent texture, and sweet, savory and addictive flavour. As an Icelandic delicacy, it is often eaten at Christmas, Easter and birthdays as an appetizer. Or, when the mood demands it. Historically in Iceland the salmon would be buried in the ground to preserve it. Today, we make use of refrigeration and the curing mixture to keep it fresh. Make sure to make the honey mustard sauce essential to Gravlax!
1.4 kg-1.8 kg salmon or trout, filleted, with skin
3 tbsp sea salt
3 tsp light brown sugar
2 tsp crushed black and/or red peppercorns
1 tsp nutmeg
6 tbsp lime juice (or lemon)
large bunch of dill
lime, lemon zest, dill sprigs, to garnish
In a small bowl, mix together salt, sugar, pepper and lime juice. Spread some dill in a shallow non-metallic dish and add a quarter of salt mixture. Lay one salmon fillet skin side down, in dish. Cover with lots of dill and spoon over half remaining salt mixture. Place remaining salmon on top, skin-side up. Cover salmon with remaining dill and pour over remaining salt mixture. Cover with parchment paper, and then plastic wrap. Place a 1 kg weight on top and leave in refrigerator of 2-3 days, turning occasionally and spooning liquid between fillets.
Graflaxsósa (Graflax Sauce) Recipe:
6 tbsp of honey
6 tbsp of dijon mustard
4 tbsp of sweet mustard
4 tbsp of brown sugar
6 tbsp of chopped dill, preferably fresh
6 tbsp of vegetable oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp of Reyka Icelandic Vodka (optional - my secret ingredient!)
salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
To serve: Slice Graflax very thin and place on rye flatbread, dark rye, or pumpernickel. Drizzle with Graflax Sauce and sprinkle with finely chopped fresh dill, lime and lemon zest.
Icelandic Salmon is amazing, if available, however, any good salmon or trout with skin on is perfect. To experience this awesomeness, enjoy making the recipe. And, if you can, it will be at Thorrablot 2015 in Toronto. Buy tickets at icct.info. Vinarterta.ca will be filling the event with traditional Icelandic food and contemporary interpretations!