Gravlax was originally made in the middle ages by Nordic fishermen who would pack the salmon in salt and lightly fermenting it by burying it on a sandy beach above the high-water mark. You can replicate such genius with a little patience and your choice of spirit. Aquavit, brandy, gin, vodka (including flavoured ones) and Pernod all work well.
- 1 (1.2-1.8kg / 3-4lb) salmon
- 3 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large handful fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp spirit of choice.
- Fillet the salmon but leave the scales on. Place both halves, scales down, on a plate. Sprinkle with salt, sugar, pepper and dill, then splash on the spirits. Place the two halves together, scales out and tails together, and wrap tightly in clingfilm. Put another plate on top, weight it down with something weighing at least half a kg (1 lb), and stick it in the fridge.
- For 2-3 days, unwrap the clingfilm every twelve hours or so and baste with the juices. When ready to eat, slice very thinly, at an angle, and serve with toast or crackers and lemon wedges.