There are some dishes in the world that make me want to cook them. The idea of making my own bacon at home sounds great. I'd love to have a go at making black pudding or haggis from scratch. The only reason I haven't been allowed to make my own brawn is Z wouldn't let me buy a pan big enough to fit a pig's head in*. However, at no point in time have I had a burning desire to make gravad lax. I do like salmon, in fact there aren't many denizens of the deep that I don't like, I've just never felt the need to cure my own.
So why, ahead of all of the other potential food challenges, have I ended up making gravad lax? The answer lies, as is so often the case, on my weekend forray to Kirkgate Market. I was shopping for the ingredients for our mezze meal on Saturday and in the back of my mind was the potential of making my own dolmades. I already had most of the items I needed in the house but I was lacking vine leaves and dill. I finally tracked down the leaves but not until it was too late to do anything with them and I had already bought a large bunch of dill.
On Sunday I had a different mission, I was off to Blackburn to pick up a Victorian cast iron fireplace for the living room. My first stop was the local Co-op to get the money to pay for the fireplace and to purchase something to break a tenner, so that I had the right change. One of the items I bought was a packet of salmon. I now had dill and salmon and my mind started racing. On returning to Leeds with a rather large item of antiquity my first priority was to look up a recipe.
Dill, sugar, salt, white pepper and gin were all mixed together and used to cover the salmon. The recipe said that you should leave the mixture for at least 48 hours and by the time it came to eat the fish, we were well over that. I was dubious as to whether the cure would have worked but I needn't have worried. The cured salmon was as good as any smoked salmon that I have bought and the accompaniments of pickled cucumber, mustard sauce, a side salad and brown bread were perfect. To say that I hadn't planed to make gravad lax, I am glad that I did. The flavour was fantastic and after the hot sultry day we have had, it was the perfect evening meal.
*I am still working on this one.