I posted recently about visiting the premiere Swedish restaurant in NYC, Aquavit, and experiencing their smorgasbord. As a true connoisseur of everything pickled (including herring), I jumped at the opportunity to visit my good friend Chris Van Bergen in Philadelphia recently as he was introducing his world famous smorgasbord in a new springtime setting. Usually associated with winter, or perhaps Sweden where it seems to be winter 10 months of the year, I was happy to find out that the delicacies of smorgasbord (varieties of pickled herring, cured salmon, meatballs, etc.) translate very well to a warmer time of year. Now Chris, an excellent cook, decided to play it safe and stick with the smorgasbord standards ( a slight pun on his profession as a classically trained musician), and thankfully didn't try to introduce any Swedish fusion. Although I did wonder how a combining Philly's most famous food (cheesesteak sandwich) with the staple of smorgasbord (gravlox) would look: Gravlox "Cheesesteak" with Citrus Cured Salmon, Molten Boursin Cheese, Caramelized Scallions on Soft Pumpernickel Hoagie. However, don't look for it on a Traveling Kitchen menu anytime soon.
Here's a great recipe for curing your own Salmon (Gravlox).
Citrus Cured Salmon
Quantity Produced: For 5# Fish Fillet (Extra Can Be Frozen)
Salmon or A. Char Fillet, Skin-on 5 #
Brown Sugar 5 Cups
Kosher Salt 10 Cups
Fennel, Sliced Thin (Bulb + Fronds) 3
Parsley, Minced ½ Cup
Tarragon, Minced (optional) ¼ Cup
Coriander Seed 2/3 Cup
Fennel Seed 2/3 Cup
White Pepper 2 ½ Teaspoons
Lemon Zest 4 Lemons
Orange Zest 3 Oranges
Lime Zest 5 Limes
Combine fish cure in a large bowl. Cover fish on both sides with cure, make sure to use it all, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. After 24 hours, drain off liquid that has collected in pan and cure for additional 12 to 24 hours (12 hours for arctic char fillet, 24 for thick salmon fillet). Rinse off cure, pat fish dry with paper towel and refrigerate until ready to slice.