with Fennel Seeds and Gin
A sushi-quality sockeye salmon fillet is rubbed with a mixture of salt, sugar, black pepper, and toasted fennel seeds. It is tightly bundled in a puree of blackberry and gin then refrigerated for at least 24 hours. The result is something a little different than the traditional gravlax with dill.
Last month we thoroughly enjoyed a Salmon Crudo with Blackberry Ponzu. It turns out the Pacific Northwest chefs’ secret is the marriage of salmon and blackberries. Now we know too.
The blackberry-gin mixture brings an interesting herbal fruitiness while fennel adds subtle anise notes. The exterior of the salmon is tinged a neat purple color. This was a fun project and a refreshing modern alternative to old world Nordic-style gravlax.
We plated our blackberry-cured gravlax with fresh blackberries, tomato, red onion, and lemon. Everything bagels, capers, and cream cheese were served on the side. Delightful and different!
Blackberry-Cured Gravlax Recipe
- 1 T. granulated sugar
- 1 T. coarse grain sea salt
- 1 t. fennel seeds – lightly toasted and crushed
- several grinds black pepper
Mix dry cure ingredients together in a small dish or ramekin.
- 6 oz. frozen blackberries, thawed, drained of any juices
- 2 t. granulated sugar
- 2 t. coarse grain sea salt
- 2 T. gin
Mix wet cure ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor.
- 8 oz. to 1 lb. piece of sushi-quality salmon
Remove skin and pin bones from salmon. Dry salmon with paper towels. Coat salmon all over with dry cure.
Place a large piece of cling wrap over a dish that is just slightly bigger than the fish. Pour half the wet cure onto the cling wrap. Place fish on top. Pour the remaining wet cure over the fish. Bundle the fish tightly in the cling wrap.
Place a weight on top of the wrapped fish and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.
Remove fish from the wrapping. Gently scrape off the blackberry mixture. BRIEFLY pass fish under cold running water to remove any leftover seeds. Immediately dry with paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to serve, within 24 hours.
Thinly slice the salmon on a bias against the grain. Spread gravlax out on a platter, or serve atop your favorite bagel.