Sunset Salmon Gravlax

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Who doesn’t like some cured salmon? It’s the perfect addition to a piece of toast, bagel or just alone for a delicious appetizer. If you have salmon stocked in your freezer from you last amazing salmon fishing trip and you need fun new ways to get through it, this recipe is a real crowd pleaser. In this recipe you can use fresh wild caught salmon or frozen salmon. If you use frozen, make sure your salmon was kept as fresh as possible meaning frozen quickly and thawed out in the refrigerator overnight or under some cold running water. Gravlax dates all the way back to the Middle Ages. It’s a Nordic dish and unlike the typical “lox” that you would find at a bagel shop, gravlax is cured with salt a little sugar with a splash of alcohol. My version uses beets during the curing process so color and flavor seeps into the salmon and makes each slice look like an amazing sunset and is served with a simple dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce:
1 cup Greek Yogurt
2 tablespoons Dill, chopped
2 tablespoons Jalapeno, fine diced
1/2 lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

Gravlax:
1 salmon filet (fresh, wild caught, Skin on)
1 cup Salt (course sea salt, or kosher salt)
1/4 cup  sugar 
2 beets (peeled, grated)
1.5oz tequila (or use Gin, Vodka, Rum or whiskey)
1 teaspoon lemon zest 
3 tablespoons Dill (chopped) or use any herb cilantro, parsley, rosemary, oregano

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  1. Dry salmon fillet and remove bones
  2. Lay plastic wrap on a large cutting board. Use enough to completely wrap the salmon after you’ve seasoned it.
  3. Spread the salt all over the salmon filet making sure it’s completely covered. Then spread sugar evenly over the salt.
  4. Now spread the beets evenly over the filet pressing down slightly so it stays on.
  5. Drizzle the tequila over the filet the sprinkle the herbs and zest all over.
  6. Wrap the filet tightly with the plastic wrap and place it on a sheet tray. Place another sheet tray on top of the filet and add a few weights to it. (some cans or water bottles will work fine) Now place it in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
  7. After 48 hours pull the filet out of the fridge and drain the liquid that has accumulated. 
  8. Scrap-off all the top seasoning from the filet and wipe it with a paper towel.
  9. Cut the salmon in thin slices angling your knife at about a 45 degree angle to get long flat slices. When you get to the bottom where the skin is, flatten out your knife to cut it away from the skin. (do not eat the skin) 
  10. For dipping sauce: Combine all the ingredients and stir until smooth. If it’s too thick add a splash of cold water to loosen it up.

Ara Zada

Born and raised in Los Angeles Ara Zada is a chef, author, TV personality, food stylist and avid bow hunter. He has worked with Outdoor News, PBS, Food Network, ABC, CBS, NBC, TNT, Jaime Oliver Food Foundation and a range of others. His first cookbook ‘Lavash’ was released Oct. 2019. When he’s not cooking he’s shooting his bow, teaching his kids about the outdoors, training for triathlons and filling any available time with parkour.

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