Curing salmon or trout is fun, simple and absolutely delicious. Johanna Kindvall adds an enchanting summer twist to this Scandinavian classic.
By Johanna Kindvall
Every summer I collect elderflowers to make cordial for my summer drinks. I especially like the cordial with gin and some fresh mint from the garden. To make elderflower cordial is easy, just pick 40 flower clusters and place them in a bucket together with four lemons (sliced). Dissolve 2 kg sugar in two liter (8 1/4 cup) of boiling hot water. Add 30 gram citric acid to the water and pour over the flowers. Let stand covered for 3-4 days in a cool place. Strain and pour into glass bottles. Keep the bottles in a cold place. To store longer I recommend freezing the cordial. Dilute the cordial with still or sparkling water to your own taste.
Another successful treat I make, is to add the flowers as a flavor while curing trout. Its the same method and ratio as when you make gravlax.
for the curing you will need
1 kilo (2 lb) trout fillet
1 teaspoon crushed pepper
4 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar (brown or regular sugar)
8-10 clusters of elder flowers
bunch of dill
I really recommend to fillet the trout your self, as the remaining parts (except the guts) together with bay leaves, carrot, celery, dills stalks and onions makes a great fish stock.
Rinse and clean the fish. Fillet the fish and leave the skin still on. If necessary pull out the remaining bones with a pair of pliers.
Mix together salt, sugar and pepper. Rub the fillet with some of the mixture and sprinkle the rest on top of the fillets. Wash the Elderflowers carefully and separate the tiny flowers from the stalk by using a fork or a pair of scissors. Place the flowers and some dill on top of the of the fish. Put the fillets together, meat against meat with the flowers in between. Wrap the fish in a plastic foil. Let the fish cure in the fridge with something heavy on top for two days. Turn them now and again.
After two days, unwrap and clean the fillets. Start to slice the gravlax at the end of the fish into thin diagonal slivers using a fillet knife (or any other suitable knife). Gravlax can be stored in the fridge for almost a week and longer in the freezer.
If elderflower is not in season you can use some tablespoons of Elderflower Cordial instead.
The trout should be frozen at least 24 hours before you start (just in case there are parasites in the fish). If using whole fish I recommend to fillet the fish before freezing.
Serve the cured trout on hard bread or a flat bread like Maria Laitinen’s Rieska. Topp the sandwich with some classic Gravlax Sauce or what we call in Sweden, Hovmästarsås (= Butler Sauce).
Hovmästarsås: Stir together 3 tablespoons mustard, 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar with plenty of chopped dill. Slowly start dripping in 100 ml (little less than a 1/2 cup) olive oil into the mixture while stirring continuously (just like you make mayonnaise). If you add the oil too quickly the mixture can separate. The result should be a thick sauce. Season with salt and fresh grounded pepper. Enjoy!
Johanna Kindvall is freelance designer who works with illustrations, graphics and architecture. She loves to cook, eat and draw; a combination she have been sharing on her cooking blog, Kokblog since 2005. Her recipes are more about what you can do, less about how you make them. Johanna is a Swede based in New York City. During the summer she works from her little cottage in the very south of Sweden just an hour from the Danish capital of Copenhagen.