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Alternative to smoked salmon at Christmas



@danchaq no problem. I too have played about a bit with it. I use slightly more sugar than salt now, maybe 60/40 with a generous amount of crushed or ground mixed peppercorns (maybe 3 tablespoons). I would use 100g of sugar and 75g of coarse salt for a 3lb fish. I use dill though maybe more sparingly than some. Juniper might be quite strong? The lemon zest sounds interesting. I have used it with hot smoked salmon before to rub into the surface, but not with gravadlax.

The other thing I do is make it with two fillets rather than one, so they can be ‘sandwiched’ together. This helps get the cure right into the fish. As I said above, I use a largeish rainbow trout these days, maybe 3lb or so. I have also done it with a grilse (small salmon) of about 4lb but for bigger fish, ideally 7-8lb, I tend to get them cold smoked (haven’t tried that myself yet, though I do my own hot smoking).

For gravadlax I also freeze the fish first then thaw. This kills any possible parasites. Quite important as gravadlax process itself won’t necessarily do that. It’s an outside chance, but worth doing.

I have also been known to add a splash of vodka to the gravadlax cure. The curing timespan is also important. For smaller fish I have been known to do it for as little as 36-48 hours, mainly due to forgetting to start in time! This gives a pretty mild cure and it won’t keep for too long. More generally, I do it for 3-4 days for a fish of 3lb. If it was bigger, I would do it for maybe 5-6 days. That length of cure time will keep for at least a week, probably more like 10 days once it’s ready.

Important to turn it over in the cure mix (which will go liquid) to ensure that it all gets covered. You can wrap it in clingfilm to do that. Best to use a dish that the fish fits in fairly well, a large plastic box, or a wooden half wine case works well (though it will leak a bit). Keep it somewhere cool - in winter I use the garage if the fridge is full. Rinse and wipe off the cure mix when finished then dry. You can brush some cure mix back on the flesh side and coat with finely chopped dill/crushed pepper to give it a nice finished look.

Recipes for wine lovers - WIKI

I sandwich the fish and flip halfway through the cure as well. My normal portion is probably 3lbs or so, cured for 3 days. One year I did dill and fresh grated beetroot which was also really good. It always goes down a treat!


In terms of impressiveness of result per energy expended I think gravadlax is pretty hard to beat. My cure sounds similar to yours but I almost always add beetroot, I love the dramatic colour it gives!


I adore Gravadlax, these days from M&S and you get a tasty Mustard and Dill sauce.

Some years ago, I knew a lad who knew a man. Occasionally, I would be “presented” with a Wild Sea Trout (5-6lb) still in the throes of rigor, so fresh was it. And I knew someone who would smoke it, (I am fairly sure that a top quality Caribbean Rum was employed in the process) for me slice it and vac pack it in 200g portions. And into the freezer it went. Quite the treat I can promise you!
I do love Gravadlax and good Smoked Salmon, but in my opinion Smoked Sea Trout is utterly peerless, so fine the taste and texture. To this day, when Sea Trout comes into season in the early Summer months, I get some steaks of it for poaching. A great dish without having to be Raymond Blanc or a Roux relation!! I do these days blanche at the prices of quality fish in the South East, as what I pay is sometimes half the price. My last purchase of Sea Trout was around £25/kg which I thought bordered on theft! lol :wink:
But the truth of it is, that fisherman risk life and limb on a daily basis and should be well rewarded for their efforts. I saw for the first time, line caught haddock in a fishmongers a few weeks ago, it does make me chuckle when they declare that it is “wild!!”


Sewin as they call it in the land of your fathers @Taffy-on-Tour

I agree that the taste of a fresh sea trout is peerless. Unfortunately, on the west coast up here, salmon farming has decimated stocks of wild sea trout due to the sea lice problem. We still get a few in our rivers down in the south west of Scotland, but return them all if caught at present. At least that’s what’s supposed to happen. There is a licensed net fishery on the East Coast of Scotland and they turn up in my local fishmonger in season. Bit cheaper than £25 a kilo too…


I wasn’t sure that Sewin would be a universally understood descriptor?
I honestly cannot remember tasting Sewin in the Industrial heartland of South Wales that I hail from. I think that the availability came from localities from the West of Swansea, in my time.
I think that on a slightly “nefarious” week long trip to North Wales which included the finest Welsh Lamb that I have ever tasted, I encountered Sewin while staying at Portmeirion.
That Sewin memory caused me to experiment with the smoking project, as I had never heard of it. I would encourage members, if they ever get the opportunity, to try it.


It probably wouldn’t be except among the Welsh or game fishers!

I think that there is now a run of sewin on many of the previously polluted rivers in South Wales which is great news.

I agree that people should try the finished product if possible. Not sure that they should try cold smoking at home though :slight_smile: .


Mine was professionally done, he does very good wild and farmed Smoked Salmon.
And I encouraged him to do a Smoked Streaky which was terrific!


Thanks for all the great suggestions, I’m keeping track in the header no we have a gravadlax diversion :smile:


I would be inclined towards Pate as a starter. Because it leads into your main as beef wellington, which has pate & mushroom duxcelles under the pastry.

SO… in theory Pate fois gras (but might be contentious) alternatively a REALLY good duck mousse type pate - the kind that is silky smooth with a buttercup yellow layer of fat - push the boat out & get it with truffles. Served with simple buttered toast & ripe fig + lambs lettuce. All easy to prepare in advance, no heating. Keep it simple.

What to drink with it? Champagne mais naturellement - or as another poster suggests, an aged Alsace pinot gris, or a buttery white Burgundy to match the toast.


Dry sherry, charcutierie and griddled veg :yum:


Unless its a PX all Sherry should be dry :smiley:


What about a medium Amontillado…?


All Sherry apart from PX is dry, don’t really go for blended sweetened styles but that’s just my personal preference :slight_smile:


Oh, I’m with you on that one, but it is a different issue…? A Medium Amontillado is still a Sherry (albeit with a touch of PX), but it isn’t dry.


That is incorrect. Try googling Moscatel (the grape in general) or Anada 2000 from Lustau.


Ah but it’s xmas and someone’s gran might insist :joy:


What about asparagus risotto or even asparagus soup, served in egg cups so that no one gets too full!


As long as it hasn’t been in the back of the cupboard for years I am ok with it lol.