Scandinavian gravlax to diversify northern cuisine
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Scandinavian gravlax to diversify northern cuisine

June 09, 2021

Add spice to a nourishing dish with a properly selected tincture.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. “Perhaps everyone knows that a tincture is an alcoholic drink made by infusing alcohol on various fruits, seeds, spices, aromatic and medicinal herbs. And everyone makes such tinctures, which are suggested by his imagination and the availability of natural resources”, says the chef of the Malina cafe Ruslan Asanov. “We offer several types of infusions made with black currant, sea buckthorn, lingonberry, raspberry, almond, horseradish, pine nuts, pepper and lemon”.

Chefs know that each tincture enriches the dish in its own way: sweet ones based on berries – mountain ash, lingonberry, currant – are usually used as an aperitif before a meat feast. Tincture on sea buckthorn is softer, it turns out to be oily and sweeter, good for fish. Currants are sour and more aromatic, but raspberries give a note of sweetness and astringency.

In general, hot meat dishes are very holistically and harmoniously combined with strong liqueurs: lamb kebabs, veal chops, fried pork and beef. Astringent herbal liqueurs served, on the contrary, with cold meat and cold snacks. Bitter and fresh to taste infusions based on walnut shells, ginger, lemon are perfectly complemented by fatty poultry, rabbit, wildfowl – baked, fried and stewed. Spicy tinctures are very tasty to drink with fish dishes, spicy food is also suitable. Sweet liqueurs served at the end of the evening along with dessert. Cakes, pies, fruits, pastries are the best appetizer with a fragrant sweet tincture of raspberries, strawberries, melons or bird cherry. A sweet liqueur used as a digestif should have a low strength, a pleasant taste and a rich fruit and berry aroma.

“There are no restrictions on tincture snacks. The general rule is that herbal tinctures are good with cold dishes, bitter ones with hot ones. Sweet light liqueurs are used with desserts or as part of hot tea or coffee”, says Ruslan Asanov.

Now let’s move on to the actual dish, which is accompanied by tinctures. The main thing is gravlax, a Scandinavian dish that has become extremely popular today. This is a fish dish from the cold appetizer category, typical of the cuisine of northern European countries, mainly Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

Graavilochi, or gravlax, is a raw fish of valuable species cooked in a dry spicy marinade. The name of the dish refers to the traditional medieval method of cooking, which meant temporarily burying salted fish in the coastal sand above the tide line. The fish turned out to be incredibly tasty – sufficiently salty, spicy, tender, melting in the mouth.

Technology has changed to these days, becoming closer to civilization. The fish is no longer buried; instead, cling film or foil is used. However, the ingredients are the same. The main component is fatty red fish of the salmon family: salmon, trout, pink salmon and so on. For the marinade, you will definitely need coarse salt (preferably sea salt), sugar, and black ground pepper. In addition, there are recipes for gravlax with the addition of beets, horseradish, vodka and other products.

“We take salmon fillet, put lemon zest, coarse sea salt, sugar, grated beets on it, pour vegetable oil on it. Around the fish – 50-60 milliliters of strong alcohol, such as vodka. The beets release juice that penetrates to the middle of the fillet. We cover all this with foil and put it in the refrigerator overnight. Alcohol vapors provide a faster fermentation of the dish. Salmon is salted, lemon pickles it”, says the chef.

In the morning, rinse the fish from excess salt with plenty of cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. The salmon remains strong and, when cut, will reveal its color renewed thanks to beetroot.

As a side dish, potatoes are suitable, which can be served in an unusual way: cut balls with a carving knife and throw them into boiling water for just a couple of minutes. Then fry with garlic.

“When decorating the dish, we cut the fish into slices, sprinkle the whole dish with fresh berries, which give sweetness and cool after alcoholic liqueurs”, summed up Ruslan Asanov.

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Maria Sokolova, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko

June 09, 2021

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