Danish Gravlax (pair with Martinis & Vermouth)
Serves 8 to 10
- 3 + lbs. fresh salmon filet with skin (you want to end up with 2 pieces similar in size, center cut works best but any 2 matching pieces will work)
- 1 large bunch of dill, if not pungent, chop coarsely to release flavor
- 1/4 cup coarse salt kosher or any type salt crystals
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tb peppercorns, crushed, white preferred but black is fine
Place half the fish, skin side down, in a glass, enamel or stainless steel dish. Dish needs to be deep enough to hold both layers of the fish & platter to cover fish inside the bowl. Wash, shake dry the dill bunch and place on the fish. In small bowl combine the salt, sugar and crushed peppercorns. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the dill Top with other half of fish, skin side up. Cover with aluminum foil & set platter. Pile the platter with weights – 3 to 4 cans of food work well Refrigerate 48 hours or up to 3 days Turn fish every 12 hours, basting with the liquid marinade that accumulates. Separate the halves to baste salmon inside. Turn the salmon over and replace platter and weights each time. When finished, remove the fish from marinade & separate halves. Scape away the dill & seasonings & pat dry with paper towels. Place skin side down on carving board. Slice salmon halves thinly on the diagonal, detaching from the skin. Serve with mustard sauce, lemon wedges, small toasts or thin rye bread and a lettuce salad.
Mustard Dill Sauce recipe
Makes about 1/2 cup
- 4 TB Whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp. powdered mustard
- 2-3 TB sugar
- 2 TB vinegar, white preferred but regular wine vinegar is fine
- 1/3 cup oil, vegetable or light olive oil
- 3 TB dill, Fresh, chopped
In small deep bow or electric hand blender mix 2 mustards, sugar and vinegar to paste. With wire whisk slowly beat in the oil until forms thick mayonnaise like emulsion. Stir in the chopped dill. Refrigerate in small jar until ready to use. Shake vigorously or beat with whisk before serving. You can make this several days ahead.
Pickled Cucumber Salad Recipe
Serves 4 as salad or more if accompaniment to Gravlax
- 2 large Cucumbers
- 1 TB Salt
- 3/4 cup White Vinegar
- 1 TB Sugar Vinaigrette dressing
- 1 tsp. Salt 1/4 tsp. White Pepper
- 2 TB Fresh Chopped Dill
Scrub cucumbers and dry. Score lengthwise with a fork. Cut them in thinnest possible slices. Arrange in thin layer in shallow glass dish. Sprinkle with salt. Place weights on top to press out excess water and bitterness. Leave at room temperature for a few hours or overnight in refrigerator. Remove plates & drain cucumbers of all liquid. Wash slightly to remove excess salt, pat dry & return to dish.
In small bowl, beat together vinegar, sugar salt and pepper. Pour vinaigrette over cucumbers & strew with chopped dill. Chill for 2 or 3 hours up to overnight. Just before serving, drain away nearly all the liquid.
Elk Meatballs in Sour Cream Sauce (pair with 50:50 Manhattans)
Makes about 4 dozen 1 inch meatballs
- 6 tb. Butter
- 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. garlic, finely chopped
- 2 lbs. ground elk, buffalo, or beef (if using beef, increase seasonings)
- 1 lb. pork, lean ground
- 1 cup bread crumbs, soft fresh white, pulverized in a blender
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
- 1 TB salt 1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 TB vegetable oil
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 TB flour
- 2 tsp. mustard – dry
Melt 2 TB butter over moderate heat in heavy 10 to 12 inch skillet. Add onions & garlic, cook for about 5 min until soft & translucent but not brown. Scrape contents of skillet into deep bowl. Add elk, pork, bread crumbs, egg, milk, parsley, thyme, salt & pepper to the bowl. Knead vigorously with both hands to incorporate all ingredients. Beat mixture with wooden spoon until smooth.
Shape meatballs: pinch off about 1 TB of mixture and roll between hands into ball about 1 inch in diameter. In skillet, melt 4 TB butter with oil and brown the meatballs, 10 or 12 at a time. Turn balls frequently & regulate heat so they color evenly without burning. With slotted spoon transfer to plate when brown & add more meatballs. When all meatballs are browned, pour off remaining fat in skillet. Add chicken stock to skillet and bring to boil over high heat, scraping in any browned bits from meatballs. Return all meatballs to the skillet with any liquid accumulated around them on the plate. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes or until no trace of pink when pierced with knife. With slotted spoon remove meatballs to heated bowl & cover to keep warm.
Sour cream sauce recipe
With wire whisk beat sour cream, flour and mustard together in bowl until well blended. Add the sour cream mixture to liquid remaining in skillet. Whisking constantly, cook over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and lightly thickened. Taste for seasonings and pour all into heated chafing dish. Place toothpicks or small forks with chafing dish for guests to serve themselves. Note: this can be made earlier in the day before the party and warmed gently.