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G is for get your mitts off my gravadlax!

May 23, 2012

When we moved from the city back to the Island a few years back, I pretty much immediately got a job helping to manage the local gourmet grocery.  My tendencies towards luxurious, exotic or artisan food items meant that I practically worked for discounted food – not that I could see any problems with this arrangement.  One day I mistakenly ordered whole sides of raw salmon instead of smoked, I bought at wholesale rates my mistake – my love affair with curing my own gravadlax had begun.  I no longer work there and the shop has changed hands, which means I am once again a mere customer, not such a bad thing – but no discount and to be frank (and I’m not being ungrateful) still quite a limited and static supply of fresh and/or gourmet goodies to feed my insatiable cooking soul.

For around 20 weeks (that is how many recipe leaflets are magnetised to our fridge) once a week, on a Tuesday evening I receive an Ooooby box, a NZ version of CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture) – it will contain, not always organic, but always local (Auckland region) and absolutely seasonal, fruit, vegetables, nuts, eggs, bread, honey, bananas, and numerous other ‘add-ons’ – you can specify three things you don’t want and three things you would like to receive more of – but it is random and a wonderful way to get creative with your ‘mystery box’, as it often contains exotic (daikon, chestnuts, cherimoya, Jerusalem artichokes) and the not-so exotic (potatoes, apples, onions, garlic, rhubarb) and  kale which I have taken into my careand grown to love as one of my own (the kids on the other hand have never recovered from my ‘we must eat raw kale and lots of it’ vegan conversion a few years back – so they refuse it).   I shop at other places after I receive our box and am finding I spend alot less on fruit & veg hunter gathering expeditions than I used to – a good thing I’ll be bound.

I would say that the stupidmarket here, which, alongside quite a large proportion of the permanent population, I am loath to frequent, is an abomination of at the top end of the food chain.  The poor staff are not enthusiastic representatives and let us face facts, who? in their right mind would look forward to endless hours in that freezing fluorescent mausoleum, for often not much more than minimum wage? Most have no choice. The management, as is befitting of a large Australian food mover, are removed from the everyday needs and wants of their customers and more recently the mooted move to Ostend at the cost of the lives of mature pohutukawa and the aesthetics of the village, cemented the dysfunctional relationship they have with our community.

I do however, still shop there, at least once a week, I buy those cheaper consumables that can be of a consistent above average quality, some fruit and vegetables, organic rolled oats, herbal tea, local coffee, organic milk (I am travelling the aisles in my mind) limited spices, seasalt, olive oil, vinegar, tinned goods (mainly Italian tomatoes) free range chickens, other (NZ) meat, occasionally free range eggs, eco-cleaning products, wine, recycled toilet paper, cheddar cheese, unsweetened yoghurt, vogels, recycled toiletpaper and a few other bits and bobs.

This is a supermarket, ergo they do have loss-leading items for sale (they take a hit on one product to get more customers in the doors spending up large – haha!) recently, and here is my point if you were wondering that I actually had one, I found some really really reasonably priced whole sides of salmon – I can’t remember the kg cost, but I bought one side of around 900g for just under $30.  I don’t often see sides of salmon for sale at the fish counter here, so I priced it out and bought it – I am a sucker for gravadlax or cold cured salmon – it is dead easy and tastes sensational, keeps either in the freezer or in the fridge for ages and one side does a good four antipasto platters – depending on your appetite, but be warned! a portion sliced sitting next to an opened packet of Philadelphia cream cheese doesn’t last long if in full view on the kitchen bench – as far as a component of a platter goes – very good value at $7-9.

Here is my version of gravadlax based on about three different versions from different sources

1 side of uncooked, unsmoked raw salmon – skin on – pinbones out
175g seasalt
100g sugar
large bunch rough chopped fresh dill
1 beetroot – grated
zest of 1 orange
4 tbsp Gin or Vodka

Salmon skinside down on a board, feel along the middle line and out edges for small opaque bones.  Using tweezers or needle nose pliers pull out (on an angle is easier).  Put the dill, grated beetroot, zest and gin or vodka into a food processor and process until fine – remove and add sugar and salt (I have a Thermomix and don’t have to grate the beetroot first).  Place the salmon into a glass or stainless steel dish (if too big, cut in half), massage into the salmon and cover in plastic wrap.  A lot of liquid will be drawn out by the salt – try to keep marinade over the salmon piece, turning every day.  Marinate for 3-4 days (up to a week) until required, wipe down the salmon and with the skin side down, and using a very very sharp knife, slice on an angle as much as needed, the gravadlax can be rewrapped in clean plastic, and will keep frozen for a month or in the fridge for up to a week.

Goes well with , capers, diced onion, mustard, cream cheese, buttered rye bread or pumpernickel rounds.

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From → Recipes

11 Comments
  1. ingredienz permalink

    Loving your style Lynley, and might I say- superb photography too. What are you shooting on?
    I’m mad-crazy on gravadlax. In Sweden it’s availbe from every corner stores, ready to go with gravadlax sauce- a blend of mayonaise, dill and tarraogan, thinned with a little vinegar. I have made it with travelly too- beautiful, and of coarse tuna. My favourite cured fish though is Mosciame di Tonno – salted and air dried tuna ‘loin’ sliced paper thin. It’s essentially fish prosciutto. Wonderful stuff but unavailble in NZ. I keep meaning to make some but am iffy about buying tuna here. BTW, kale (but not horrid cavolo nero) is now my favourite leafy green. Just love the stuff

    • lynley ruck permalink

      Virgil – I have had a hankering for salted cod – bacalao, or even just cod for a very long time – if the Aussies can get it – we must be able to – necessity being the mother of invention (as you are well aware – I am still in awe of your Italianate meat curing adventures) I might just have to salt some blue cod….

  2. lynley ruck permalink

    Thanks Virgil – I use a Nikon D3000 and rely on great wintery afternoon light into my kitchen

  3. Fee permalink

    you are a food goddess 🙂

    • lynley ruck permalink

      some of us are food goddesses and some of us are goddesses plain and simple, like you x

  4. Tammy permalink

    looks delicious! and great writing 🙂

    • lynley ruck permalink

      tammy – you inspired me heaps – I love your baking escapades!

  5. I like too….

    • lynley ruck permalink

      why thankyou! am loving writing, and combined with loving cooking – it’s a win-win!

  6. Ridiculous quest tɦere. What happened аfter? Taƙe care!

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