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I Have a Go at Gravlax

I Have a Go at Gravlax
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  • Post #31 - June 25th, 2008, 8:46 am
    Post #31 - June 25th, 2008, 8:46 am Post #31 - June 25th, 2008, 8:46 am
    I think Air Canadia is offering cheap tix to Chicago this weekend, so count me in!
    :lol:

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #32 - July 5th, 2008, 1:44 am
    Post #32 - July 5th, 2008, 1:44 am Post #32 - July 5th, 2008, 1:44 am
    G Wiv wrote:David Hammond Gravlax and mustard
    Image
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Image
    Gravlax by David Hammond

    G Wiv's and ronnie_suburban's great photos from the LTHForum 1,000-Recipe Potluck, June 22, 2008, appear here and here, including these shots of Hammond's gravlax.
  • Post #33 - January 25th, 2009, 7:20 am
    Post #33 - January 25th, 2009, 7:20 am Post #33 - January 25th, 2009, 7:20 am
    While shopping at Whole Foods the fish monger mentioned he had a very fatty tail section of Wild Norwegian Salmon available that would be great for Gravlax. I bought it instantly having never made it myself, but remembering that it is a pretty easy project.

    I have several questions for those of you who have more experience curing things than I do. 1) Is there any "type" of salmon that would be ideal for curing. The FM at Whole Foods said fatter=better and that sounds reasonable. 2) I am assuming that since the fish was once frozen I do not need to worry about a refreeze to kill parasites, and 3) Will I encounter any problems if I do not drain the fish? I ask this because my wife is 39 weeks preganant and is furious that I am messing with "stinky fish" three days before she is set to deliver my next child. I learned long ago not to poke a sleeping, pregnant bear so I was going to forgo draining the fish unless you all think it will be problematic. Thoughts?
  • Post #34 - January 25th, 2009, 8:47 am
    Post #34 - January 25th, 2009, 8:47 am Post #34 - January 25th, 2009, 8:47 am
    iblock9 wrote:While shopping at Whole Foods the fish monger mentioned he had a very fatty tail section of Wild Norwegian Salmon available that would be great for Gravlax. I bought it instantly having never made it myself, but remembering that it is a pretty easy project.

    I have several questions for those of you who have more experience curing things than I do. 1) Is there any "type" of salmon that would be ideal for curing. The FM at Whole Foods said fatter=better and that sounds reasonable. 2) I am assuming that since the fish was once frozen I do not need to worry about a refreeze to kill parasites, and 3) Will I encounter any problems if I do not drain the fish? I ask this because my wife is 39 weeks preganant and is furious that I am messing with "stinky fish" three days before she is set to deliver my next child. I learned long ago not to poke a sleeping, pregnant bear so I was going to forgo draining the fish unless you all think it will be problematic. Thoughts?


    I'd defer to Bridgestone, ronnie_suburban and other more more accomplished gravlaxiolos, but my limited experience has been that wild salmon is (perhaps predictably) better. I haven't noticed any connection between fat content and better gravlax. Some of the farmed salmon has huge ripples of fat, and this salmon has not yielded better gravlax.

    Freezing should kill parasites but I think your preparation may suffer some textural problems if you don't drain (it may get mushy). Most importantly of all, and this is surely none of my damn business, if the wife is pregnant and the thought of stinky fish upsets her, maybe you should broil the salmon this time. :wink:

    (FWIW, if labor becomes protracted, I have found that a plate of home-made ginger beef helps things along).
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #35 - January 25th, 2009, 9:06 am
    Post #35 - January 25th, 2009, 9:06 am Post #35 - January 25th, 2009, 9:06 am
    David Hammond wrote:if the wife is pregnant and the thought of stinky fish upsets her, maybe you should broil the salmon this time. :wink:


    Broiling fish is not exactly stinkless. Poaching is much more benign on the stink scale.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #36 - January 25th, 2009, 9:08 am
    Post #36 - January 25th, 2009, 9:08 am Post #36 - January 25th, 2009, 9:08 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:if the wife is pregnant and the thought of stinky fish upsets her, maybe you should broil the salmon this time. :wink:


    Broiling fish is not exactly stinkless. Poaching is much more benign on the stink scale.

    Regards,


    and chicken does not smell fishy at all.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #37 - January 25th, 2009, 9:09 am
    Post #37 - January 25th, 2009, 9:09 am Post #37 - January 25th, 2009, 9:09 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:if the wife is pregnant and the thought of stinky fish upsets her, maybe you should broil the salmon this time. :wink:


    Broiling fish is not exactly stinkless. Poaching is much more benign on the stink scale.

    Regards,


    If what we're after is total smell containment, why no sous vide?
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #38 - January 25th, 2009, 9:15 am
    Post #38 - January 25th, 2009, 9:15 am Post #38 - January 25th, 2009, 9:15 am
    I would question the advisability of making gravlox from previously frozen fish. My question to those who have made it before is wouldn't the fact that the fish has been frozen afect the texture in a negative way?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #39 - January 25th, 2009, 9:19 am
    Post #39 - January 25th, 2009, 9:19 am Post #39 - January 25th, 2009, 9:19 am
    Folks, good grief where's your challenge/response mechanism?? You want no fishy odors inside, eh? Well then:

    Grill it OUTSIDE, on the Weber! As Mhays says "no guts, no glory".

    Here's how I finished off some tuna last week in Montreal:
    Image


    :lol:

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #40 - January 25th, 2009, 9:23 am
    Post #40 - January 25th, 2009, 9:23 am Post #40 - January 25th, 2009, 9:23 am
    stevez is on top of it: I gravloxed a previously frozen filet of wild salmon and it just did not firm up at all properly. Never again. "Mushy" is a bit too strong a term; but "unfirm" is definitely correct.

    My favorite to use is the Atlantic salmon—farmed, I'm sure—filet from Costco. It's always in beautiful shape, good-sized, and makes lovely gravlox.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #41 - January 25th, 2009, 9:51 am
    Post #41 - January 25th, 2009, 9:51 am Post #41 - January 25th, 2009, 9:51 am
    Thanks for the advice, I am going to drain the fish later today when the wife goes to the airport to pick up her mother. I will let everyone know how my projects turn out. (fish and child)
  • Post #42 - January 25th, 2009, 11:32 am
    Post #42 - January 25th, 2009, 11:32 am Post #42 - January 25th, 2009, 11:32 am
    I'd avoid freezing if at all possible. As you posited, the fish was probably already frozen, so it shouldn't need freezing again. Proper curing should mitigate any further risk (if there even is any).

    In my experience, wild is noticeably better than farmed because it has a depth of flavor that is absent in the farmed stuff. There is an underlying sweetness and intensity with wild that just doesn't seem be there with the farmed. Also, I think that fattier fish makes for much better gravlax because curing removes moisture (salt draws out moisture from the flesh of the fish). After that moisture is removed, a less fatty fish with be drier and crumblier than a fatty one. The fat remains after curing and it's that fat which gives the fish its supple, unctuous qualities. So, the more fat, the more luxurious the gravlax. When that gravlax hits room temperature (when you're serving it), the fat really manifests and carries flavor onto the tongue in a way that less fatty fish just can't do.

    Wishing you, your wife and your fish the very best :)

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #43 - January 25th, 2009, 7:29 pm
    Post #43 - January 25th, 2009, 7:29 pm Post #43 - January 25th, 2009, 7:29 pm
    This may be cheating, but the easiest way by far that I've found to keep gravlax out of its own juices is to use a perforated pan nested in a deeper pan. I also reccomend wild salmon caught at sea rather than in the river - I've found them fattier and they taste of the ocean - if you can get it out here. And, purely for frippery, I add shredded red beets in between the filets; this gives them a lovely sunset hue, though it adds no real discernable flavor. Mmm, and now I'm hungry for gravlax!
  • Post #44 - January 26th, 2009, 4:59 pm
    Post #44 - January 26th, 2009, 4:59 pm Post #44 - January 26th, 2009, 4:59 pm
    Halfway thru my curing adventure, draining every 12 hours, things look good. Question? Do you rewrap with each drain? I am simply squeezing out the liquid that has gathered in the freezer bag where I have placed the gravlax. I then use the GEO method of sucking out the air with a small straw before resealing. It seems that going without a bag would create a stinky mess in the fridge. I havent rewrapped yet but all seems to be going ok. Any thoughts?
  • Post #45 - January 26th, 2009, 5:06 pm
    Post #45 - January 26th, 2009, 5:06 pm Post #45 - January 26th, 2009, 5:06 pm
    iblock9 wrote:Halfway thru my curing adventure, draining every 12 hours, things look good. Question? Do you rewrap with each drain? I am simply squeezing out the liquid that has gathered in the freezer bag where I have placed the gravlax. I then use the GEO method of sucking out the air with a small straw before resealing. It seems that going without a bag would create a stinky mess in the fridge. I havent rewrapped yet but all seems to be going ok. Any thoughts?

    I use a slightly different overall method (by which the liquid drains on its own) but this seems totally fine to me. I wouldn't bother to re-wrap.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #46 - January 31st, 2009, 6:16 pm
    Post #46 - January 31st, 2009, 6:16 pm Post #46 - January 31st, 2009, 6:16 pm
    My gravalax project is complete. The curing process was unavoidably extended by 2 days when we had to go downtown to have our second child. Both salmon and child survived the process and are beautiful. (My daughter is named Lily but I havent yet named my gravalax)

    The fish is delicious but is a little salty/dilly for my taste. I did a 3 tb/3 tb salt/sugar cure mix with lots of fresh dill. Does the amount of curing mixture or the length of the cure effect the saltiness of the finished product? Thanks again for all the insight.
  • Post #47 - January 31st, 2009, 6:42 pm
    Post #47 - January 31st, 2009, 6:42 pm Post #47 - January 31st, 2009, 6:42 pm
    Congratulations! Good thinking - now you have something to feed all the descending hordes coming to see the baby!
  • Post #48 - January 31st, 2009, 10:38 pm
    Post #48 - January 31st, 2009, 10:38 pm Post #48 - January 31st, 2009, 10:38 pm
    Did your sensitive female-person ever get a whiff (so to say) of your project?

    And I wouldn't attach too loving a name to the lox; as Mhays so rightly notes, the descending hordes will most likely consume it in great haste. You might ask Bridgestone for a recommendation of a good aquavit to have along with the lox! :)

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #49 - February 1st, 2009, 12:51 am
    Post #49 - February 1st, 2009, 12:51 am Post #49 - February 1st, 2009, 12:51 am
    iblock9 wrote:My gravalax project is complete. The curing process was unavoidably extended by 2 days when we had to go downtown to have our second child. Both salmon and child survived the process and are beautiful. (My daughter is named Lily but I havent yet named my gravalax)

    Congrats! Lily is my niece's name, too :)

    iblock9 wrote:Does the amount of curing mixture or the length of the cure effect the saltiness of the finished product? Thanks again for all the insight.

    Yes, both will effect it -- especially the amount of time.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #50 - February 1st, 2009, 7:13 am
    Post #50 - February 1st, 2009, 7:13 am Post #50 - February 1st, 2009, 7:13 am
    Thanks for all the advice everyone, I am eager to try again. The hordes have descended and devoured my lox. Never got around to naming her. The smell was fairly well contained after the initial prep, I was careful to drain when my wife was napping, etc. I am looking forward to trying again with a shorter cure time.
  • Post #51 - July 20th, 2010, 7:02 am
    Post #51 - July 20th, 2010, 7:02 am Post #51 - July 20th, 2010, 7:02 am
    I'm about 36 hours into my first gravlax project. I went with a simple salt, sugar, white pepper, and dill cure.
  • Post #52 - July 20th, 2010, 7:52 am
    Post #52 - July 20th, 2010, 7:52 am Post #52 - July 20th, 2010, 7:52 am
    jblth wrote:I'm about 36 hours into my first gravlax project. I went with a simple salt, sugar, white pepper, and dill cure.


    Could be close to done, right? Even though you have the fish in the refrigerator, the warmer outside temps may mean the process is moving along a little faster than it would in cooler months. If you haven't already done so, might be time to take a taste.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #53 - July 20th, 2010, 8:48 am
    Post #53 - July 20th, 2010, 8:48 am Post #53 - July 20th, 2010, 8:48 am
    David Hammond wrote:
    jblth wrote:I'm about 36 hours into my first gravlax project. I went with a simple salt, sugar, white pepper, and dill cure.


    Could be close to done, right? Even though you have the fish in the refrigerator, the warmer outside temps may mean the process is moving along a little faster than it would in cooler months. If you haven't already done so, might be time to take a taste.


    I'll have to wait until I'm home late this evening. The fridge is really quite cold, so I'm not sure how much difference it being summer will make. My bigger concern after reading this thread is that I haven't drained it when flipping because most of the recipes I found didn't mention it.
  • Post #54 - July 21st, 2010, 5:40 pm
    Post #54 - July 21st, 2010, 5:40 pm Post #54 - July 21st, 2010, 5:40 pm
    The results are decidedly OK. It is a bit on the salty side, which is the result of curing for ~52 hours and using a 1:1 ratio of sugar:salt. The texture and flavor are great otherwise. Given how brain dead simple this is, I'm sure I'll try again.
  • Post #55 - February 20th, 2011, 3:30 pm
    Post #55 - February 20th, 2011, 3:30 pm Post #55 - February 20th, 2011, 3:30 pm
    I first had gravlax a few years ago in Gdansk, Poland. I came home and had a go at it. I've prepared it several times, but it was never outstanding, ranging from okay to just good. Just to echo a few sentiments in this thread, I preferred wild salmon over farm raised, and fresh over previously frozen.
  • Post #56 - February 20th, 2011, 5:41 pm
    Post #56 - February 20th, 2011, 5:41 pm Post #56 - February 20th, 2011, 5:41 pm
    Uncle Matt wrote:Just to echo a few sentiments in this thread, I preferred wild salmon over farm raised, and fresh over previously frozen.


    Isn't that a bit dangerous in terms of parasites or does the curing process take care of that?
  • Post #57 - February 20th, 2011, 6:06 pm
    Post #57 - February 20th, 2011, 6:06 pm Post #57 - February 20th, 2011, 6:06 pm
    zoid wrote:
    Uncle Matt wrote:Just to echo a few sentiments in this thread, I preferred wild salmon over farm raised, and fresh over previously frozen.


    Isn't that a bit dangerous in terms of parasites or does the curing process take care of that?

    Not in my experience, no.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #58 - February 20th, 2011, 7:50 pm
    Post #58 - February 20th, 2011, 7:50 pm Post #58 - February 20th, 2011, 7:50 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    zoid wrote:
    Uncle Matt wrote:Just to echo a few sentiments in this thread, I preferred wild salmon over farm raised, and fresh over previously frozen.


    Isn't that a bit dangerous in terms of parasites or does the curing process take care of that?

    Not in my experience, no.

    =R=


    :?:
    No it's not dangerous? Or no, the curing doesn't take care of it?
  • Post #59 - February 20th, 2011, 7:59 pm
    Post #59 - February 20th, 2011, 7:59 pm Post #59 - February 20th, 2011, 7:59 pm
    zoid wrote:No it's not dangerous? Or no, the curing doesn't take care of it?

    Sorry. I should have been more clear. The curing takes care of it.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #60 - February 20th, 2011, 8:47 pm
    Post #60 - February 20th, 2011, 8:47 pm Post #60 - February 20th, 2011, 8:47 pm
    Interesting - I'm supposing that's because it draws out the moisture and pumps in a bit of salt.
    Now I just have to try it :wink:

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