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Author Notes: I love raw, fresh wild salmon. I love good gin. What follows is a happy, happy marriage. This is lightly cured by most gravlax standards, as it takes a day rather than three, but it preserves the wonderful texture of outstanding fish. As an appetizer for a dinner party, or a smart meal in itself with people you like (a lot!), this is something worth splurging on, just once in a while. I think it is best served with brown bread and butter, and nips of viscously cold gin on the side. —Marie Viljoen
side of wild salmon
bunch dill, washed and dried
cup Bombay sapphire gin
tablespoons black peppercorns, roughly crushed
tablespoon excellent salt
- You need a dish wide enough to hold your salmon side comfortably, as well as a smaller dish to weigh it down, with a brick, or cans, anything heavy, on top of that.
- Rinse and pat dry your salmon. Remove pin bones if there are any.
- Combine the dill, lemon zest, lemon juice and gin.
- Pour half this mixture into the dish that will hold the fish.
- Sprinkle half the peppercorns, salt and sugar over the base of the dish.
- Lay your salmon, skin side down, in the dish.
- Add the remaining ingredients over the side facing up.
- Lay a sheet of clingfilm (or greaseproof paper if you are worried about what's in the plastic) over the salmon.
- Place a nesting dish or any dish that can cover the length of the salmon, on top. Weigh this down with cans, side by side, or a brick, or baking beans. You get the idea.
- Place this in the fridge for 6 hours minimum, 12 hours maximum.
- Flip the fish, so that the orange side is facing down. Sometimes I taste the juice at this point and and a little more seasoning.
- Put it back in the fridge for another 6-12 hours.
- Remove from fridge and pat dry.
- With a very sharp knife, with fish placed skin side down, separate skin from meat by sliding the blade between the two.
- Carve into medium-thin slices.
- Serve with good seven grain style bread and excellent butter. Lemon wedges and more black pepper on the side don't hurt.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Salmon