On the Bank Holiday Monday we went for a good old walk through Regent’s Park and up to Primrose Hill with Molly, Jason and their tiny dachshund puppy Wolf. This culminated in a lovely bloody mary fuelled lunch at the Lansdowne Pub in Chalk Farm where I was reminded of the wonders of Gravalax. They fed us a beetroot cured number with some horseradish and cooked beetroot which was very delicious, they also do pretty tasty pizzas too if you’re into that kind of thing.
The long and the short of all this is that it enthused me to get home and make my own. It’s also a brilliant way of using up a leftover fillet of salmon if you happen to have one. When I worked at Racine, the wonderful Swedish head chef there made the most brilliant cure so the quantities here are based on his recipe. I’ve added fennel as I thought it’d be nice with the salad it ended up in, but really you can add any herb / seed you fancy – fresh thyme and dill can be very nice.
For the gravalax: 2 fillets of salmon, 200g sugar, 100g salt, zest of 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp ground fennel.
For the salad: 2 bulbs fennel, 100g rocket, 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup
Place the two salmon fillets in a dish. Combine the sugar, salt, lemon zest and fennel in a bowl and pack in around the salmon fillets. You want the fillets to be entirely covered. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 1-2 days, turning once or twice. The cure will become more liquid and the moisture is drawn out of the salmon.
Remove from the cure and rinse off the mixture, then pat dry, remove the skin and slice finely.
For the salad, finely slice the fennel (a mandolin is helpful here) and place in a bowl of ice cold water for half an hour or so, this will make it nice and crisp. Combine the oil, vinegar and maple syrup and season generously. Drain the fennel and toss together with the dressing, sliced gravalax and rocket. Serve immediately.