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Gravlax with mustard-dill sauce and potato bread

“HELEN NASH’S NEW KOSHER CUISINE" is available at bookstores around the country and online retailers.  For more information visit http://www.helennashkoshercuisine.com/.

GRAVLAX WITH MUSTARD-DILL SAUCE AND POTATO BREAD

• Makes about 2 1/2 dozen hors d’oeuvres

• Makes 14 appetizer servings

In this Scandinavian delicacy, fresh salmon is cured with salt, sugar, pepper, and dill for 2 to 4 days. With its rich, varied colors and textures, it always seems to me a thing of beauty that is worth every bit of the effort. Have the fishmonger remove the center bone of the salmon without separating the fillets. (This is called butterflying.)

For an hors d’oeuvre, I like to serve gravlax, topped with a drop of sauce, on multi-grain crackers, toasted Potato Bread (recipe follows on page 22), cucumber slices, or endive petals. For an appetizer, I spoon some sauce on top of the gravlax and surround it on the plate with watercress, fresh greens, or cucumbers.

SALMON

Ingredients:

3 1/2 pounds (1.59 kg) center-cut salmon fillet

1/4 cup (50 g) sugar

1/4 cup (40 g) kosher salt

2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch fresh dill, including stems, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces

MUSTARD-DILL SAUCE

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons honey mustard

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2/3 cup (160 ml) extra virgin olive oil

15 dill sprigs, snipped finely with scissors

Preparation:

TO CURE THE SALMON: Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and pepper and rub the mixture all over the fish.

Fold the fish in half, placing the cut dill between the layers. Place it in a glass dish large enough to hold it. Cover the dish with wax paper, then foil. Place a cutting board on top of the foil and weight it down with a heavy object, such as a pot filled with large cans. (It is important that the fish is weighted down with something heavy.) Refrigerate for 2 to 4 days. Once a day, turn the fish over and pour off the accumulated liquid. Re-cover and replace the weights each time.

TO MAKE THE SAUCE: Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl to blend thoroughly. Refrigerate in a glass jar.

TO SERVE: Place the folded salmon on a cutting board. Unfold the fillet. Cut in half, following the line of the removed center bone. Scrape off the curing mixture.

Place a sheet of wax paper on top of a sheet of foil. With a gravlax knife or thin-bladed slicing knife, cut the fillets on the diagonal into slices of desired thinness. (I like mine as thin as possible, but others prefer it thicker.) As you cut, place the slices on the wax paper.

Serve with the sauce and potato bread, if desired.

Note: To freeze gravlax, place the cut slices on a piece of wax paper over a piece of foil. Separate the layers with wax paper. Cover with wax paper, then a piece of foil, and place in a plastic freezer bag. To defrost, leave the freezer bag at room temperature for a minute or so, and then peel off the desired number of sheets of gravlax. Let the gravlax stand at room temperature for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness.

POTATO BREAD

• Makes 2 free-form loaves

I love to serve thin slices of this delicious bread with gravlax, chopped liver, herring salad, and smoked whitefish.

Ingredients:

1 large Idaho baking potato

1 quart (1 liter) water

1 1/2 envelopes active dry yeast (each envelope is 2 1/4 teaspoons/7 g)

7 1/2 cups (960 g) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds

1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation:

Wash the potato well. Place it in a saucepan and cover with the water. Bring to a boil,
then lower the heat and simmer until the potato is soft, about 15 minutes. Drain the potato, reserving the potato water. Slip off and discard the potato skin and grate the potato finely.

Pour 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the warm potato water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the yeast and 3 tablespoons of the flour and stir lightly with a spoon. Cover with a towel and place in a warm, draft-free place (such as a food warmer or a warm, turned-off oven) for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbles appear. (This is called proofing the yeast to make sure it is still active.)

To this mixture add 2 cups (500 ml) of the remaining potato water, the grated potato,
7 cups (895 g) of the flour, the salt, and caraway seeds. Fit the dough hook onto the mixer
and knead the mixture at low speed for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to make the dough smooth and stiff.

Turn the dough out on a floured pastry board or work surface and knead with the heel of your hand, adding more flour as needed, to make a smooth, elastic dough that does not stick to your hands.

Wash and dry the mixer bowl. Grease the inside of the bowl with the oil and place the dough in it, turning it on all sides to coat. Cover the bowl with a towel and set it in a warm place for 75 to 90 minutes, until the dough doubles in bulk.

Punch the dough down and divide it into two equal pieces. Form each of them into
an oblong loaf and place them side by side, but not touching, on a 12 by 17-inch (30 by
45 cm) baking sheet. Put them in a warm place for 25 minutes so they can rise for the
last time.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Using a pastry brush, brush the loaves lightly with cold water. About 2 inches (5 cm) from each end of the loaf, cut a cross with a knife.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and crusty. Cool on a wire rack.

Note: Potato bread freezes well. Wrap the loaf in wax paper, then in foil, and place it in a plastic freezer bag. It is not necessary to defrost before serving. Remove the wrappings and place the loaf directly on the shelf in a preheated 200°F (95°C) oven. Bake for about 1 hour, until warm.

 

Excerpt from NEW KOSHER CUISINE © 2012 by HELEN NASH. Published by The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers Inc., New York, NY. www.overlookpress.com. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. 

 

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