This salmon gravlax makes a stunning party platter, especially when presented with its delicious accompaniments – the creamy dressing, homemade pickled cucumber and toasted rye bread. Let guests serve themselves while you pop a bottle of crisp, cold champagne – this is the recipe to get the party started!
- 2 cups rock salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 bunch dill, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp juniper berries, crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 1 lemon, zested
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) vodka
- 1.5 kg salmon fillet, trimmed and pin-boned
- toasted rye bread, to serve
Dijon crème fraîche dressing
- 200 ml crème fraîche
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt and black pepper, to taste
Pickled cucumber and onion
- 3 Lebanese cucumbers
- ½ white onion, sliced into very thin wedges
- ¼ cup dill sprigs
- 250 ml (1 cup) white vinegar
- 110 g (½ cup) sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Curing time 24 hours
Combine the rock salt, sugar, dill, juniper berries, lemon zest and vodka in a large bowl, and mix well to combine.
Over the base of a large non-reactive dish (glass, ceramic or stainless steel), sprinkle an even layer of the salt mixture. Place the salmon fillet on top, skin-side down. If the fillet is too large to fit in the dish, cut it in half. Sprinkle the remaining salt mixture over and around the salmon (in between both pieces if fillet cut in half), ensuring all of the salmon flesh is coated.
Cover with plastic wrap and weigh down with a heavy chopping board and a couple of cans. Refrigerate for 12 hours. Uncover the salmon, turn over the fillet, re-cover with plastic wrap and the weights and refrigerate for another 12 hours.
Remove from the fridge and brush off the salt mixture, wiping with damp paper towel. Store the fillet in the fridge until ready to serve. It is important to remove the salt mixture after 24 hours or the fish will continue to cure and become very firm.
To make the Dijon crème fraîche dressing, place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve. This makes approximately 1 cup of dressing, and will keep for 1 week in the fridge.
To make the pickled cucumber and onion, using a mandoline on the thinnest setting, slice the cucumbers, discarding the ends. You can also use the mandoline to slice the onion.
Layer the cucumber, onion and dill sprigs in a non-reactive dish (glass, ceramic or stainless steel).
Combine the vinegar, 125 ml (½ cup) water, sugar, salt and fennel seeds in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, and then bring to the boil. Pour over the cucumber, onion and dill and set aside to cool. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required. This makes approximately 3 cups, and will keep for 1 month in the fridge.
To serve, slice the salmon very thinly and arrange on a serving platter with the Dijon crème fraîche dressing and pickled cucumber and onion. Serve with toasted rye bread.
Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.