Here at Hyggebox we are obviously big fans of all things Scandi & this includes the food. Scandinavian food has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years thanks to Claus Meyer & Rene Redzepi. They are two chefs who decided that cooking in their countries had become uninspiring & food was perhaps becoming a little too industrialised. They decided to try to get their fellow countrymen to fall back in love with Danish produce & traditional foods. Since then they have transformed cooking all over the world, foraging has never been so popular & in many countries chefs are looking back to traditional cooking methods to re-invigorate their menus.
Fish is central to Scandinavian food. The seas are crammed with incredible fish & shellfish & this is reflected in their national food culture. One of our favourite Scandi foods is Gravadlax — cured salmon. We love this for a bunch of reasons, it is easy to make, keeps in the fridge for ages so makes a handy snack, it is healthy & most importantly is tastes fantastic.
Curing fish may sound a little daunting if you are not an experienced cook but it is actually very easy & we urge you to give it a go. You can buy Gravadlax from a supermarket but it will not taste as good as if you do it yourself.
The process & ingredients are really simple & you don’t have to do much work. The basic method is to cover the flesh of the fish in a mixture of sugar & salt, weigh it down, leave it in the fridge for a couple of days & boom! you’ve got a delicious piece of cured fish. Curing is the removal of water from the fish so that it keeps for longer. Once cured it will be fine in the fridge for about 2 weeks.
Cured fish is firm & the flavour is intense. It is great on bread — the Danes eat tons of open sandwiches with cured fish. We also eat it on salads with a mustard, dill & sour cream dressing. It is also wonderful with potatoes, on crackers with cream cheese or rolled into sushi.
400g Fillet of salmon
2–3 tbsp salt
1–2 tbsp sugar
These are the very basic ingredients & make a delicious cured salmon. You can also add flavourings such as these to the cure which infuse into the fish
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bunch of dill
1. Rinse & dry the salmon fillet & place it in a roasting tray or flat bottomed bowl. Mix the salt & sugar together
2. If adding flavourings add them to the salt/sugar mixture. Cover the salmon completely with the curing mix.
3. Cover with foil or cling film & weight the fish down with something heavy — I usually use a cookbook.
4. Leave this in the fridge for 2 days. Then uncover the fish. There should be a sort of slimey, watery mixture in the bottom of the tray.
5. Take the fish out & rinse in cold water, pat it dry with some kitchen paper & it’s ready to eat. Simple!