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Salmon Gravlax with Cucumber Salad and Tart Herbed Cream Sauce Recipe

The Gravlax:

  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 675 grams (1½ lb) salmon fillet, pin-bones removed and skinned
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon cracked white peppercorns
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill (including stems)

The Cucumber Salad:

  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, a few pieces of skin reserved
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

The Sauce

  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 100 milliliters heavy cream
  • 100 milliliters crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil
  • ½ tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice

Preparation for the Gravlax:

  1. The whole side of salmon can be used for gravlax, but if you are planning to make other salmon dishes, cut away the thin section of the belly and the end of the tail and save them for these dishes, leaving the thickest part of the fillet for the gravlax.
  2. Mix the kosher salt and the sugar together.
  3. Arrange the fillet of salmon on a piece of plastic wrap placed on top of a piece of aluminum foil. Rub the salt and sugar mixture evenly all over the salmon. Enclose the fillet tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. After the curing period, unwrap the salmon. The salt-sugar mixture will have melted and most of the liquid absorbed by the salmon. There shouldn't be any more salt or liquid visible. If there is any, rinse the salmon under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
  5. Rub the Cognac on top and around the salmon and sprinkle with the rind of lime and the black pepper.
  6. Cover the fillet with the fresh herbs, patting them gently to cover the entire top surface of the salmon.
  7. Rewrap the salmon in the plastic wrap and foil. Place on a tray in the refrigerator and top with another tray, weighted down with a 2-kilogram weight, to press the fillet and tighten the meat.
  8. Refrigerate, weighted, for at least 2 more hours or overnight to develop the flavors.

Preparation for the Cucumber Salad:

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to cut the cucumber into thin shavings about 3 inches long, cutting around the outside until the seeds in the center are reached.
  2. Mix the cucumber with the salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar.
  3. Cut the cucumber skin into little oval shapes to resemble small leaves. Set aside for decoration.

Preparation for the Sauce:

  1. Cut the exterior of the tomatoes in large brunoise and set aside.
  2. Combine the cream, crème fraîche, and vinegar in a bowl and season.
  3. Add the herbs, and adjust the acidity with a touch of lemon juice, if necessary, to obtain a tart flavor.
  4. Incorporate the tomato at the last minute before using.

For Service:

  1. Thinly slice the gravlax and place 60 to 75 grams attractively on a chilled plate.
  2. Arrange some cucumber salad alongside and nap the salmon with some of the sauce.