Gravalax ( Gravad Lax : Gravad is Swedish for buried and Lax or Laks means salmon ) was a method used by Scandinavian fisherman to preserve fish. Simply enough they buried some of their catch on the beach below the tide mark, Gravalax is so easy to make and definitely worth trying at home.
In my family we all love smoked salmon and I am always on the lookout for new ideas and recipes. I saw beetroot being used during curing on one of the many festive cookery programs over Christmas and I immediately thought of a way of enhancing the flavours and that was by cold smoking the salmon at the end so taking it to a oak smoked beetroot cured salmon.
Firstly, I started with curing the salmon and for this I mixed all the ingredients together ( I advise gloves for this unless you like red stained hands !) and then covered my salmon fillets with the mix, ensuring that the salmon was skin down in the container and sitting on some of the mix. I then left it in the fridge for about 12 hours. If possible have a weighted container pressing down on the salmon as this helps the curing process.
After 12 hours I washed it thoroughly in cold water, patted it dry and left it in the fridge for a further 2 hours till the flesh had a “tacky” feel to it. The surface of the salmon will take on a nice beetroot red colour and will have absorbed into the salmon flesh by a couple of millimetres.
The Gravalax at this point is done and ready to eat, however I wanted to enhance the flavour by using my Bradley Smoker, I cold smoked the fillets for 6 hours using oak pellets. I then left one fillet overnight in the fridge to allow the flavours to settle and the second went into a freezer bag and into the freezer. This will keep for a couple of months and all you need to do is defrost and eat when needed.
I serve this with either fresh or toasted bread and a nice mayonnaise, chopped dill and lemon juice dip. The colours are vibrant and the smoked salmon is incredible either as a starter or a main course.
2 full salmon fillets with skin, 4 shredded medium beetroot (cooked or raw), a cup of sugar, 3 cups of sea salt, a medium handful of finely chopped dill, 30ml Vodka and the zest from a lemon