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Recipe: Salmon Gravlax with Yogurt, Cucumber and Tarragon

“This is a simple-to-make, very refreshing summer appetizer,” says Zod Arifai, chef/owner of Blu in Montclair.

Posted May 8, 2009

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“Gravlax goes beautifully with a glass of sauvignon blanc, dry or sweet riesling or gewurtztraminer," Arifai says "It’s really more a technique than a recipe. By learning this it, you can cure your own salmon all year-round for basically the price of the fish alone, and not pay $25 a pound for gravlax at a deli counter.”

Serves: 4

For the Gravlax:

1 lb. very fresh raw salmon filet, skin removed
2 tbs. salt
1/2 tb. sugar

--Spread plastic wrap on counter. Lay salmon on plastic wrap.
--Mix salt and sugar and sprinkle the mixture evenly on both sides of salmon. Use all the
   salt/sugar mixture.
--Wrap plastic tightly around salmon and refrigerate 24-36 hours.
--Unwrap salmon, scrape off all sugar/salt with the back of a knife and wipe fish
   clean with paper towels.
--Refrigerate salmon till needed.

For the Cucumbers:

1 English Cucumber, skin on.
1/2 tsp. salt
Juice of one half lime

--Rough chop cucumber.
--Place in food processor with salt and lime juice.
--Pulse till cucumber bits are the size of rice grains
--Pour pulsed cucumber into a fine strainer positioned over a bowl. Let drain in     
   refrigerator 3-5 minutes.
--Do not discard the drained water. You will need it later.

For Tarragon Sauce:

2 sprigs fresh tarragon, use leaves only, discard stems.
2 tbs. fruity olive oil (Note: Among olive oils generally available in supermarkets,
   Spanish, Greek and Turkish oils tend to be more fruity; Italian and French oils tend to
   be more peppery.)
1/2 c. cucumber water from previous step

--Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix till an emulsion forms
   (Note: In a blender this will happen in a few seconds; in a processor it might take a few 
To Serve:

--Slice salmon to desired thickness
--Place 1 tb. yogurt (preferably Greek) in center of each of four appetizer-size plates
--Divide drained cucumber bits into four equal portions, spread evenly around the yogurt
   on each plate
--Drizzle tarragon sauce on yogurt and around plate. 1.5 tbs. should be enough for
   each plate. Don’t use too much or the dish will be too salty.
--Top with salmon and serve.

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