Now that I’m in full pregnancy swing, of course I’m craving all of the foods I’m not supposed to have: sushi, sausages, anything fried, and gooey unpasteurized cheeses. I’m not sure if they’re cravings really, more like defiant stubbornness.
Recently I was inspired (read: the pictures made me salivate) by an article I read about Marcus Samuellson, chef/owner of the chic Manhattan Nordic restaurant, Aquavit. His recipe for Gravlax (cured salmon) seemed simple enough and I had a beautiful piece of salmon and some fresh dill calling my name in the fridge. Rather than go with Mr. Samuellson’s recipe, however, I pulled out my trusty behemoth of a cookbook, the CIA’s Professional Chef, which had a nifty Gravlax recipe that seemed more fun (see my adapted recipe below). Mr. Samuellson’s recipe uses a simple dry cure, but the one in my CIA bible also used a wet component that included some brandy. Can’t go wrong there.
We Jews love our smoked or cured salmon, which we lovingly call “lox” (after Gravlax presumably). On a bagel with some schmear, on a chic blini, or by itself, lox is just plain good. If you don’t have a smoking gun (and I don’t, yet), curing it is your next best bet.
Making the cure was easy. The tricky part is leaving the darned thing alone in your refrigerator for 2 days while it cures, and then controlling yourself and not eating the entire slab of salmon in one sitting, which would probably give you a salt heart attack.
Once my salmon was cured, scraped, and thinly sliced, I placed it on top of mini Melba toast squares (thank you Trader Joe’s) with some creme fraiche and chives. Simple appetizer, tasty snack, and sublimely irresistible to this pregnant lady. Plus it’s the perfect Sunday brunch food.
Like I said before, don’t judge. I’m a self-admitted foodaholic. (Incidentally, the salmon I chose was fresh as could be and I’m ServSafe certified so I wasn’t worried about endangering my kidney bean with icky bacteria). Well worth the little cheat.
Try it. If you’re not pregnant you have nothing to feel guilty about.