There are days when our life feels thoroughly Canadian. This morning we have both been working from home as a snowstorm rages outside our windows on the 25th floor, the neighbouring buildings whited out by the tumbling flakes. This has been a very light winter in terms of snow, with not many days of trudging through sludge to buy groceries or get to campus, so today’s storm is particularly exciting.

And there’s gravlax for breakfast. I’ve made more gravlax in two years in Toronto than I did in ten years in Pretoria, but that should come as a surprise to no one. Most of our salmon comes from a Chinese grocery store in town, with a fish counter that brings J to tears. We’re especially fond of their lobsters, which has become our anniversary dinner, but mostly we’ll get a selection of shells to steam with some pasta, a piece of fish for the pan, or a crab or two for curry. And salmon, for eating raw with wasabi and pickled ginger, or for curing.




I tend to stick with one of two recipes. The first is Cyril Renaud’s recipe for citrus gravlax, via Mark Bittman at the New York Times. This is best made in winter, when you have access to grapefruit, lemons and limes for zest and juice, to which you add the obligatory dill, sugar, and salt. Renaud also includes juniper berries, gin and coriander (the spice, not the herb), and it is, without fail, delicious. The other recipe is from Diana Henry’s Salt, Sugar, Smoke, for a whiskey and brown sugar-cured gravlax. Henry keeps just the salt, sugar and dill and adds to it a lot of peaty whiskey (it has to be peaty, thus pricey, don’t try and replace it with a cheaper version) and a tart apple. This makes an amazing dinner party starter, served with some bread (although, admittedly, I once made an entire filet of salmon for a birthday party I was asked to cater for, and none of the guests wanted to eat it. So I spent an hour after the party sitting in a pool eating slivers of salmon and drinking leftover sparkling wine on a balmy October night, and just typing this sentence makes me homesick for Pretoria in the worst and most debaucherous way.)

Anyway. Mostly we eat our gravlax either on toasted bread or alongside a scrambled egg. Although I’ve wanted to try this for the longest time, but with gravlax instead of smoked salmon. Should be good if we get snowed in.




2 thoughts on “gravlax

  1. Man, oh man! Was ek by daardie paartie, was die gravlax beslis opgehap. Alhoewel, mag ek eerder jou in die swembad join vir die post-paartie genot?


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