There is some lovely imported salmon to be found at the fish counter, but smoked salmon will cost you and arm and a leg here. Gravlax is similar in both flavour and consistency to smoked salmon and the best bit is that it’s a doddle to make for a fraction of the price.
I love smoked salmon but I’m not paying the equivalent of £3-£5 for a measly 100 grams as charged by local supermarkets.
A recent price check in a local supermarket showed prices ranging from 89TL to a bank busting 129TL a kilo!
By contrast the fish counter had a beautiful looking whole fish selling at 16TL a kilo.
Add a few cheap ingredients, a few days in the fridge and you’ll have a nice lump of fish you can slice thinly and use in a multitude of ways.
[list class=special-7][li]200g coarse sea salt[/li][li]150g sugar[/li][li]2 teaspoons of crushed black pepper corns[/li][li]1 bunch of fresh dill, chopped as fine as you can[/li][li]900g slab of skin on raw salmon[/li][/list]
Weigh out the ‘marinade’ and mix it all together.
Line a shallow dish with a good run of cling film and place about half the marinade on the bottom.
Remove as many of the pin bones from the salmon as you can (using pliers makes this easier) and lay the fish, skin side down, on the mix.
Pat on the remainder all around and over the fish to completely cover it.
Pull over the cling film so it is tightly wrapped.
Get a heavy weight (I use a full 5l water bottle filled with water) and place this on top and put it in the fridge.
For the next 3-4 days turn the fish once a day and re-weight. A thick brine will ooze out which you can pour off. In some parts of Sweden they use this brine in cooking.
After 3 days it’ll be ready but you can leave it a while longer if you want.
Wash off the marinate and pat dry – it’s done.
In sandwiches and on crackers with cream cheese never fails to please, but it’s also lovely stirred into linguine, which has been tossed in a cream cheese and garlic sauce, just before serving.
It’s goes well with tomatoes and with cucumber as bite sized hors d’oeuvres or in a salad.
A word on the salt:
I managed to find preserving salt in Tansas (iri salamura tuzu/rafine kaya tuzu), but it was the last bag – and dirt cheap. I don’t think fine table salt is a good idea because of some of the extra chemicals in there. I’ve not tried the lemon salt they sell in the market (not sure what that is exactly) but it could work and might make an interesting outcome.
If you do experiment and come up with a more readily available salt option, please let me know and I’ll update this recipe. Thanks and enjoy your gravlax!