Alright, I know what you’re thinking. What does Lox have to do with Italian comfort food. Absolutely nothing. Unfortunately I didn’t even start eating lox until I was well into my 30’s. This was not something grandma put out with the provolone and olives. But I’m proud to say that I’m an Italian that finds it very comforting to have a nice hot bagel spread with some Philadelphia cream cheese layered with a few slices of that delicious fish over the top. I do put capers on it! And every now and again a few slices of onion. Heck, I was introduced to lox by a Greek friend of mine. So there you have it. Ethnic food is ethnic food no matter where it comes from and for the most part it’s all good. And the wonderful thing about living in New York is that we get the chance to enjoy all ethnic food traditions.When it comes to enjoying good food there are no borders.
Lox can be very expensive to buy in the specialty stores so I decided to make it myself. I’m all for saving money and eating good food. It’s ridiculously easy to do and will cost you half of what you pay in the specialty shops. This recipe is a traditional Nordic way of preparing salmon. They call it Gravlax. The salmon is coated with a spice mixture, which often includes dill, sugars, salt, and spices like juniper berry or cracked black peppercorns. You can also add orange zest to the mixture. It is then weighted down to force the moisture from the fish and infuse the flavorings.
The end result is a whole half salmon fillet that cost me $12 at Shop Rite transformed into a pound and a half of lox that can cost you up to $80 in the stores. Well worth the effort.
- 2 cups of kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange zest (optional)
- 1 side of salmon fillet, skin on, pin bones removed.
Rinse the salmon fillet under cold water and pat dry.
Combine the salt, peppercorns, dill, sugar and zest in a medium size mixing bowl. Mix well. Lay a piece of plastic wrap twice the size of the salmon on your counter top. Cross another piece of the plastic wrap of the same size over the first piece and lay half way across horizontal.
Spoon about a cup of the salt mixture on top of the plastic wrap about the size of the fish.
Lay the fish skin side down over the salt mixture. Pour the remainder of the salt mixture on top of the fish making sure every exposed area of the fish is covered by the salt.
With the palm of your hands press the salt mixture into the fish.
Fold the two pieces of plastic wrap tightly around the fish, folding the ends in securely. Place the fish in a glass baking dish or flat cookie sheet. Top the salmon with another cookie sheet and place heavy cans or two clean wrapped bricks or a heavy cast iron pan on top of the baking pan to weight down the salmon. Refrigerate for 24 to 30 hours, depending upon the thickness of the fish.
Remove from the refrigerator and unwrap the salmon. Discard the wrap and scrape off the seasoning mixture. Rinse the salmon under cold water to remove the seasoning mixture. Pat dry.
To serve, remove 2 inches from the tail of he salmon. Slice the salmon, at an angle, into paper thin slices. Welcome to lox heaven!