The traditional Scandinavian curing mixture for gravlax calls for aquavit, but Michael McCarty chooses to eliminate the alcohol so that the sweet salmon flavor comes through more clearly. Be sure to allow at least 48 hours for the salmon to cure.
Gravlax makes a terrific hors d’oeuvre when served with thinly sliced, toasted brioche or other good bread.
Adapted from “Welcome to Michael’s” by Michael McCarty.
With enough plastic wrap to enclose the salmon completely, line a shallow glass dish large enough to hold the salmon, letting the excess overlap the sides. Set aside
Using a small, sharp knife, lightly score the skin side of the salmon with diagonal lines about 1 inch apart. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the dill, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Spread half of the mixture in the bottom of the lined glass dish. Place the salmon skin-down on top of the dill mixture. Spoon the remaining dill mixture over the salmon, taking care to pack it evenly over the top and around the sides. Pull the overlapping plastic wrap up and over the fish to enclose it tightly. Place a piece of aluminum foil snuggly over the wrapped fish.
Place on top of the wrapped salmon another dish that is small enough to fit into the glass dish. Weight the fish down with heavy cans of food or any other clean, heavy objects that will keep the salmon submerged in the curing mixture and the juices that form as the fish cures.
Put the dish with the salmon and weights in the refrigerator and leave to cure for at least 48 hours.
Remove the salmon from the refrigerator. Uncover and unwrap. Using your fingertips, push off the curing mixture.
To serve, put the salmon skin-down on a cutting board. Using a sharp carving knife held almost parallel against the surface of the flesh, cut the fish into long, tissue-thin slices.
Serve with Mustard-Dill Mayonnaise and toasted brioche.