Salmon from the grave (gravlax)

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Something that we Swedes eat for pretty much every holiday is cured salmon, or as we call it – gravlax (salmon from the grave). It got it name from the fact that fishermen used to ferment it by burying fish in the sand by the high-tide line for a while (probably flavoured by some brackish Baltic sea water) but I promise you, it works just as well to make it in a plastic bag in your fridge.

The taste is similar to smoked salmon but with a slightly different consistency (it kind of melts in your mouth!). It’s quite expensive to buy pre-made and believe it or not – dead easy to make at home! All you need is:

1 filet of pre-frozen salmon (buy it previously frozen or have it in the freezer and then de-frost before you make it)

1 large ziploc plastic bag

Per 1kg salmon:

  • 3 tbs salt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1½ tsp white pepper corns
  • 150 ml chopped fresh dill

Mix the salt, sugar and ground pepper corns in a bowl.

spread the mix out evenly on two pieces of salmon filet (I kind of rubbed it in a little too).

Add the chopped dill on top and press the two filet pieces together.

Put the whole package in a sealed plastic bag and let sit in the fridge for 3 days. make sure to flip the package half way through so that everything gets evenly cured.

The picture below is from the original recipe where they did it between two plates instead of in a bag:

Gravad lax

Once the 3 days have passed, take your filets out and scrape off the dill & pepper (you could wash it lightly if you want to make it a little less salty). Finish by cutting thin slices along the fish like in the picture.

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Serve rolled up like little roses to get the perfect midsummer smörgåsbord:

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Rabarberkräm (gooey rhubarb deliciousness)

I’ve been longing to make a post about kräm because it’s something I find very delicious and that I always have a hard time describing to people here in Canada. “It’s like jam but soft and gooey, kind of like jelly but not solid like jelly…” yeah, not the easiest thing to describe. Anyways, after some oppurtunistic foraging in an abandoned corner of the neighbourhood (and a dose of Carrie’s courage), I finally got my hands on some rhubarb stalks to cook up a storm.

One of the main ingredients in this recipie is potato starch. I am not sure if you can buy it in the grocery store over here, but to be on the safe side, I brought some over from Sweden when I was visiting last month (not suspicious at all to bring a package of white powder on the plane…). I managed to find this homepage though, with information about potato starch in Canada, and who knows, corn starch might work as an ok substitute.

Enough about that, here’s the recipie:

  1. Chop 5 medium sized rubarb stalks
  2. Put in a pot and cover with white sugar (you don’t need very much, maybe 200 ml)
  3. Pour in water until the rhubarb is covered but not floating.
  4. Add a cinnamon stick and let boil until the rhubarb softens and splits into strings.
  5. Mix 4 tbs of potato starch with some water in a bowl until it is completely dissolved (no resistance when stirring).
  6. Slowly pour the starchmix into the pot while stirring. The starchmix should run in a slim continuous stream into the pot to avoid lumps.
  7. Keep stirring until the kräm thickens (it shouldn’t have to boil any more).
  8. Pour the kräm into a glass bowl and sprinkle ground cinnamon on top.

Let the kräm cool off and then serve with cold milk.

If you don’t want to serve this as a dessert, it can also make for a yummy afternoon snack in the summer, and if you have access to gooseberries, they make for a great replacement to rhubarbs. The truth is that you could do this with almost any kind of fruit, you just have to adapt the amount of water, startch and sugar you put into it based on how sour and watery the fruit is.