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Recipe: Beet-Cured Salmon Gravlax, from 'The New Jewish Table'

By ANDREW Z. GALARNEAU

Here's a recipe from "The New Jewish Table," featured in today's Buffalo News.

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Beet-Cured Salmon Gravlax, from "The New Jewish Table"

Makes 2 pounds (at least 8 thinly sl iced servings)

Todd Gray: Gravlax is cured, but not smoked, salmon. It is usually cured with sugar, salt, dill, and seasonings, then wrapped and weighted down to extract moisture from it (see Of Kipper Snacks and Cured Salmon, page 16). I use grated beets instead of chopped dill in the cure for this gravlax — they infuse an earthy flavor and a vibrant, bright red color. Wrapped airtight and refrigerated, the salmon will keep for a week.

Ingredients

¼ cup Cointreau (clear orange-flavored liqueur)

One 2-pound salmon fillet, with the skin on

2 cups kosher salt

2 cups sugar

2 small beets, peeled and grated (about 1 ¾ cups)

1 tablespoon toasted fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cheesecloth, for wrapping, one piece about 3-feet long

Toasted bagels and cream cheese, for serving (optional)

Season the salmon. Rub the Cointreau over the salmon flesh. Combine the salt, sugar, beets, fennel seeds, tarragon, orange zest, and pepper in a medium bowl. Unfold the cheesecloth and lay it in a shallow pan large enough to hold the salmon, centering it so the edges are free to wrap over the fish. Spoon half the salt mixture into the pan, smoothing over the cheesecloth. Place the fish skin side down on top. Spoon the remaining salt mixture evenly over the fish, covering as much as possible.

Cure the salmon. Fold the cheesecloth edges up and over the fish. Place a heavy plate on top of wrapped fish and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Slice and serve. Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Unwrap the fish, brush aside the salt mixture, and lift the fish from the pan. Wash the fish under cold water to remove the remaining salt. Dry well with paper towels. Slice very thin, lift from the skin, and serve with toasted bagels and cream cheese.

(From "The New Jewish Table," by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray with David Hagedorn, photographs by Renee Comet, St. Martin's Press)

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