arctic char gravlaks with cucumber jelly

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Servs: 6   Prep:

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  • add   <b>For gravlaks</b><br> 1 (1 1/4-lb) center-cut piece arctic char fillet with skin, pin bones removed<br> 1/2 cup sugar<br> 1/4 cup kosher salt<br> 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper<br> 3 cups coarsely chopped fresh dill (from 2 large bu

Instructions

  1. Make gravlaks:
  2. Pat fish dry, then transfer, skin side up, to a large sheet of plastic wrap. Stir together sugar, salt, and pepper, then rub 3 tablespoons of mixture onto skin of fish. Turn fish over and thickly coat with remaining sugar mixture, then pack dill on top.
  3. Wrap fish tightly in 2 or 3 layers of plastic wrap (to prevent leakage; salt mixture will liquefy as fish cures) and transfer to a large shallow baking pan. Put another baking pan or a cutting board on top of fish and weight down with 3 or 4 full cans (about 3 lb total). Let fish cure, chilled, turning wrapped fillet over roughly every 12 hours and then replacing weight, for 36 hours total.
  4. Make jelly while fish is curing:
  5. Peel cucumbers, making sure to remove all green (for a clearer jelly), then halve lengthwise and core. Coarsely chop cucumbers and purée in a food processor until smooth, then drain in a large fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, pressing hard on solids to extract 2 cups liquid. Discard solids.
  6. Stir together salt and 1/2 cup cucumber liquid in a small saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Let stand 1 minute to soften, then heat over moderate heat, stirring, just until gelatin is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Cool mixture to room temperature, then stir into remaining 1 1/2 cups cucumber liquid along with vinegar. Pour mixture into an 8-inch square glass baking dish and sprinkle with dill fronds, pressing gently to submerge. Chill, covered, until set, at least 8 hours.
  7. To serve:
  8. Unwrap gravlaks, discarding liquid, and gently scrape off dill. Transfer gravlaks, skin side down, to a cutting board. Holding a very sharp long thin-bladed knife at a 30-degree angle, cut gravlaks across the grain into very thin slices, being careful not to cut through skin. Discard skin.
  9. Cut jelly into 6 pieces and divide among 6 plates with a metal spatula. Serve with several slices of gravlaks.
  10. Cooks' notes:
  11. • Cured gravlaks can be drained, scraped, and wrapped in clean plastic wrap, then chilled up to 5 days.
  12. • Jelly can be chilled up to 4 days.