Musings and photos of my attempts to create edible food.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Salmon Gravlax with Sourdough

Jenny and I first encountered gravlax whilst on honeymoon in Scotland. We decided to treat ourselves to dinner out at a nice pub and, being near Aviemore, wound up at The Old Bridge Inn. Being  indecisive we got a starter to share and, having never had gravlax, we decided to try it. Having thoroughly enjoyed our dinner I wanted to learn more about how it was made. The finished dish is rather akin to smoked salmon but without the smoke.
Upon returning home to the joys of google, I was intrigued to discover that gravlax required only store cupboard ingredients, dill, salmon and a fridge (ticking some of my "like to cure / preserve traditionally" boxes). I have now made this a few times and it is one I like to pull out as a starter - British salmon that I have cured myself is very satisfying.
In my opinion, cured salmon sits wonderfully on a good solid loaf. Rather than just bake a wholemeal loaf, I decided on a fresh sourdough starter to bake a loaf with more tang. For those who haven't come across sourdough before, it's a loaf baked with natural yeast and bacteria, in this case out of the air (some people use grape skins that have collected the natural yeast on the outside).  It makes a slower-rising loaf that has lots of tangy flavour. One word of warning - you need 48 hours to make this dish!


  • 1 quantity sourdough starter
  • 400g wholemeal bread flour
  • water
  • 1 side of salmon (about 600g)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp juniper berries
  • 1 small bunch of dill plus a sprig for the dressing
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp salad oil
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • a pinch of lecethin or other emulsifier (optional)
  • Salad

For the sourdough, mix the starter with 1/2 the flour and enough water to make a wet dough. Leave this overnight to sponge. Knead in the remaining flour to form a nice dough and leave to rise in a covered bowl for an hour. Knock back and allow to rise (I have taken to using a well-floured basket to give a nice texture). Bake the bread at 200C for 45 minutes, with a tin of boiling water on the shelf underneath. Allow to cool.

For the gravlax - grind up the salt and pepper coarsely, add the juniper berries and crush lightly before mixing in the sugar. Sprinkle this over the side of salmon and add the coarsely-chopped dill. Wrap the salmon up tight and leave in the bottom of the fridge for 36-48 hours, depending on thickness, turning regularly to ensure the cure is worked in. 
Once cured, rinse well, pat dry with kitchen towel and slice thinly with a very sharp knife - cured salmon gets very sticky.

To make the dressing, grind the mustard with a little salt and add the remaining dill, grinding to a paste. Add the vinegar, oil and lecethin and mix to a smooth consistency (so I got lazy adding the emulsifier - I just happened to have some around as I was making apple foam).


Post a Comment