Lax might be more recognized as lox, or just salmon here in North America. But the fish is called lax in Sweden, and “laks” in Norway and Denmark. In German it is called “lachs”.
Salmon is the English word, but it seems that when the salmon is brined before smoking, or just cured, Americans prefer to call it “lox“.
I researched some recipes for gravad lax, and wanted to match that recipe with my homemade snaps. For this my aquavit laboratory will come in handy.
Together with fresh dill and ginger, brown sugar and sea salt. Lemon and orange juice and zest, crushed white peppercorns, and a couple of ground star anise. With these ingredients I hope to make a more complex curing, with a bite from the ginger, and some citrus and licorice flavor behind the dill.
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh ginger (wow, so hot)
Now start with the salmon, cutting two equal size pieces (approximately 12 oz each). (I prepared the rest of the fillet for future curing and dinner meals).
Each piece of the salmon fillets are uneven in thickness, to ensure curing of the thicker parts, cut through the skin on the thicker part.
After washing out and drying the styrofoam tray, it becomes a perfect working container when adding the spices.
The next step will combine the spices, sugar, and salmon and wrap the prepared salmon into a tight package.
Cover the styrofoam tray with a long piece of plastic wrap.
Spread almost half of the citrus zest over, and the same with the chopped dill. Place the second fillet next to the first one, but turn it 180 degrees.
Now when we add the two fillets together meat side to meat side, the package will be evenly thick.
Prepare the second fillet the same way. Add the the whole dill pieces on top of one of them. Sprinkle all the juices with anise over both fillets.
Four days later…
Use the file knife to cut a thin slice off the thin side, and put it in your mouth. It melts and taste wonderful.
Sometimes I rinse the salt a pepper off in cold water, and dry the fillet with a paper towel, but this was so flavorful and decorative, so I decided to keep it on. I was also surprised how the hot ginger almost disappeared. I was the first time I used it, so I was a little nervous, but I got the ginger idea from an experienced “lax graver”.
Now I need to complete my project, by making a pairing snaps to this.
My aquavit laboratory comes in handy now.
I fill a small bit of vodka into a snapsglass, and drip 8 drops each of my infused star anise, fresh dill, and orange and lemon zest.
I place a large slice of my cured salmon on a piece of rye-dill flatbread, added some dill and mustard sauce
I was both thrilled and nervous at the same time. I stared at the glass for 30 seconds, before I pushed the entire bite into my mouth and explored it, and washing it down with my snaps.
Moment of silence….
And it worked…..beyond what I expected….
All spices and flavors in the gravad lax, were confirmed by swallowing the room temperature CAD-snaps, Citrus-Anise-Dill.
Small food bites like this, remind me of the Spanish Tapas.
Some exclusive Swedish chefs introduced the term Snapas several years ago. I will have to come back on that subject another time….
…ta mej faan…