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Holiday Gravlax (Cured Salmon) and Canapes

Gravlax is a meltingly tender and flavorful salt-and-sugar, cold-cured salmon. The dish has Scandinavian roots and the original technique was developed to preserve the delicate fish without brining or smoking. Though we don’t need to cure for preservation today, the technique is still a popular treatment for raw salmon because of its ease and spectacular results. Gravlax, with its rich, deep, orange coloring, makes an elegant presentation for a holiday appetizer. It’s often served as canapés with a dollop of zippy mustard sauce, but is pretty and tasty enough to eat on its own.

One key to making it great is to start with the freshest and highest quality salmon you can find. It will work with any wild Alaskan salmon, such as king, silver or sockeye. Sockeye has the most intense flavor of the three. You will need to purchase your fish 48 hours before you plan to serve it. The basic preparation is quick and easy, it only takes about 15 minutes. But then the fish needs time to cure – a full 48 hours in the refrigerator. With just a little advanced planning you will be able to make an incredibly nutrient-rich, delicious appetizer that will wow your friends and family.

Once it’s cured, you can serve Gravlax simply sliced and arranged on an elegant platter or lay it out on cucumber rounds or planks. To make it a little fancier you can also offer a few tasty accompaniments such as lemon wedges or honey mustard and a bit of minced red onion and/or black caviar. Gravlax canapés can provide a lovely, luscious start to a festive evening.

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