Recipe by Lori Ross
This raw fish is cured with a mixture of salt and sugar.
1–2 lb. very fresh boneless fillet of salmon, red snapper, sea bass, striped bass or tuna
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp aquavit, vodka, brandy or cognac
1 tbsp fresh-ground pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, dill, tarragon)
Cut the fillet into two pieces of approximately equal size and shape. Lay cut fillets skin side down. Mix salt, sugar and pepper, and rub evenly on fish. Strew herbs evenly over the surface of fish fillets and sprinkle aquavit, vodka, brandy or cognac over both fillets. Lay one fillet on top of the other, skin side out and flesh side in. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a pan (to catch the liquid that will accumulate). Place a cutting board with 5-lb. weight (canned goods, a brick, other weights) on top of fish packet and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning package over once. Before serving, unwrap fillets, scrape off herbs and spices, rinse under cool water to remove seasonings, and pat dry. With a sharp knife, cut the salmon on a diagonal into thin slices. Grind peppercorns over salmon and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Serve with cocktail rye or pumpernickel bread, horseradish, capers, lemon and aioli on the side.
Hint: If you are worried about safety or if you make too much gravlax, freeze fish for 48 hours with spices and defrost in refrigerator before serving. This does not seem to affect flavor or texture, and freezing makes it easier to slice thin.