I’d been following the FB posts of Dorothy Lane Market and tracking when the Copper River salmon was coming in. It was the king that was in the store Friday. Its brief season is only May and June. But it is so very, very worth making every effort to find and indulge in it the fleeting moments you can catch it.
This year, I did something I almost can’t believe I did with the costly pound I purchased.
I made gravlax.
Making true gravlax requires no smoking. It is, in essence, the purest Scandinavian method of preserving fish.
Only the best salmon, lovely coarse sea salt, pounded peppercorns, sugar, a handful of backyard dill. Wrapped tightly in clingfilm and flipped twice a day for two days.
The dry salt-sugar coat results in the fish giving up all its water content and producing a oceany brine that the fish luxuriates in for the duration of its cure.
Once removed from its bath, it is finely shaved and mounded on potatoes, or garden baby greens for the most precious of all culinary experiences.
But the most important aspect of all of this? You can do it. You don’t need any special equipment or know how. Make it and enjoy it. While it lasts.
Copper River Gravlax, made using the instructions from Rick Stein in Complete Seafood. If you don’t have this book, I don’t know what else to tell you except that you have to get it. You have to.
One pound Copper River King Salmon1/3 c coarse sea salt
3 T sugar
1/2 T cracked, but not ground, peppercorns
Small handful of fresh dill, coarsely chopped
Combine all the spice and herb ingredients, pour over the salmon fillet that has been placed skin side down on a large piece of clingfilm. Cover the fish evenly with the salt-sugar cure. Wrap tightly in the clingfilm. Tightly wrap with two to three successive large pieces of clingfilm. Place in a pan under a cutting board that has been heavily weighted with cans. Turn the fish every twelve hours for two days. Remove clingfilm and dry.
Thinly slice and serve. Maybe with some bagels from Katzinger’s, and some of their dry, salt-cured mountain capers, C-bus citizens.
And remember when Oakvale made cream cheese? Me, too. That would have been perfect.
Playlist included the very dramatic Every Shining Time You Arrive, by Sunny Day Real Estate.