Gravlax is a fantastic dish for summer, especially if you are hosting a New Year's Eve party. It is very easy to make your own, and looks impressive on the table. The salmon needs to cure for 48 hours.
1kg piece Atlantic salmon, skin on
60g sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
140g brown sugar
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp chopped dill
Run your clean fingers over the salmon and, using a pair of tweezers, remove any protruding bones. Dip the tweezers into a small bowl of water to get the bones off. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel.
Line a large tray with a double layer of plastic wrap, making sure there is enough overhang on the two long sides to easily wrap back over to cover the salmon. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the plastic.
Combine the salt, pepper, sugar and fennel seeds in a bowl. Massage the mixture into the salmon flesh. Make sure the whole surface of the flesh is covered by the mixture, then cover tightly with the plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for 48 hours, turning over every 12 hours.
To serve, remove the salmon from the plastic wrap and drain any liquid away. Brush off the curing mixture and give the fish a quick rinse to remove the salt. Pat dry with a paper towel, sprinkle the chopped dill over the flesh and give it a gentle pat to help it stick.
Starting at the head end of the fish, cut the salmon into 2mm slices, cutting straight down not on an angle.
The gravlax will last for two weeks in the fridge, but I recommend finishing it in a week as the flavour will be better.
Serving suggestion: Make an avocado puree, smear it onto a serving plate, then lay slices of salmon over it. Top with freshly ground black pepper, snipped mustard cress, watercress leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
When working with seafood you plan to cure or eat raw, take extra care with the cleanliness of the equipment you use.