So I start worrying about some sort of appetizer for the St Patty's boiled dinner. Sure I'll have cabbage and carrots and potatoes and even a parsnip, but what's before that? Some cheese, some something....how about some cured fish. You may not find it on any pub menu, but I had a small piece of fish in the freezer so why not? This really started back in December when I saw New Scandinavian Cooking, on PBS. On the Christmas show they showed Gravlaks (ground fish?) as one of the traditional dishes. I was hooked. Since the recipe (from the New Scandinavian Cooking website) only called for six pounds (and I had seven)I chopped off the tail end and threw it in the freezer. This was my first time at curing anything so I was a little nervous. But Christmas morning the gravlaks turned out better than I could have imagined; it simply melted in your mouth. We also had an expert among the crowd that morning, our good friend from Finland was with us and she declared it the most wonderful Christmas miracle. She also showed me how to cut it right too.
So this is pretty simple: One part salt, two parts sugar, a handful of dill, a grinding of pepper and a splash of brandy. Cure for three days. Flip it daily.
Now at Christmas time I thought that the lack of cold smoking would be noticeable when comparing the gravlaks to the smoked fish you get at the store. I was wrong; I did not miss it at all.
However I still want to smoke some salmon. Maybe this Summer for the Mid-Summer celebration. I have to build a cold smoker first, and that is going to have to wait until it gets a little warmer outside.