When I was a little girl we used to go out fishing in a boat on the west coast of Sweden. Mostly we caught cod and mackerel but sometimes we also got garfish. The best thing about these boat trips was when we stopped at some tiny unsettled rocky island to have lunch. We collected firewood and broiled mackerel over an open fire. The fish was just cleaned and gutted, seasoned with salt and lemon and stuck on a wooden stick. Fantastic!
(for two persons)
one whole mackerel
a neutral oil
one shallot, finely chopped
one teaspoon brown mustard seeds
fresh tarragon, chopped
Rinse the whole mackerel and fillet the fish. Keep the skin on the fillets. If necessary pull out the remaining bones with a pair of pliers. Salt the fillets and let them cure for about half an hour. I suggest you make a fish stock with the remaining parts such as the head and the bones (not the guts).
Fry the Mackerel fillets in the oil on both sides until meat is white. At the same time melt some butter in another pan and saute the chopped shallot on low heat until soft and transparent. Add mustard seeds and fresh tarragon. When the mustard starts to pop its done. If necessary, to your own taste, add some more butter. Pour over the mackerel fillets and serve immediately with, for example, the mustard sauce below and some fresh summer potatoes.
(for one mackerel)
200 ml (little more than ¾ cup) sour cream
one teaspoon mustard
some lemon juice
Stir in mustard and dill into the sour cream. Season with lemon and honey.
In English Gravlax should be called Buried Salmon, which would be the ‘correct’ translation. But I agree that Gravlax sounds better and today you don’t have to bury the fish to make it.
1 kilo (2 lb) salmon fillet
2 teaspoons crushed pepper
4 tablespoons salt
2-4 tablespoons sucanat or sugar
lots of dill
If I buy fresh salmon I always freeze it for 24hrs, to make sure that there are no parasites in it. Clean the salmon fillets of any bones but keep the skin. The skin makes it easier later on when you are going to slice it. Mix together salt, pepper and sucanut. (more sugar makes a softer gravlax). Rub the fillet with some of the mixture. Divide the rest of the mixture and the dill on top of the fillet. If you have two fillets, place them together, meat against meat and short side against wide side. Place the fillet in a plastic bag and close it carefully. You can also use plastic wrap but it can be a little messy. Let the fillets rest in the fridge for 1-2 days. Thinner fillets can be done in 24 hours and thicker pieces need 48 hours to be ready to eat.
Unwrap and clean the fillets. Start to slice the gravlax at the small end. Make thin slices with a fillet or boning knife at an angle. Gravlax can be stored in the fridge for a week or longer in the freezer.I often serve my Gravlax as dinner with either potatoes and gravlax sauce or with dill creamed potatoes. In the summer I like to have a fresh potatoe salad with mustard vinaigrette. But gravlax is also great as an appetizer on toast.
See also Gravlax Juniper and Elderflower Gravlax
3 tablespoons unsweet mustard
100 ml (0.4 cups) oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon sucanat
salt and fresh ground pepper
100 ml (0.4 cups) chopped dill
Mix mustard, sucanut, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly start dripping in the oil while stirring the mixture. Continue dripping in the oil and stirring. If you add the oil too quickly the mixture can separate. The result should be a thick sauce. Lastly add the chopped dill.
½ pound of herring in wine (east village cheese shop)
¼ red onion
Mix all ingredients together. Add more mustard and lemon after your taste. If you want the herring to be sweeter add some sugar or sweeter mustard.
The herring can be served on Magnus Kefir Bread and some slices of boiled eggs. Decorate with dill and serve it with chilled vodka.