Sunday, August 18, 2013

Umami-rich Japanese-style Gravlax with "Moshio" Sea Salt

Japanese-style Gravlax with Shaved Fennel
Whenever I get a whole half filet of fresh quality salmon, I save a good piece and make a gravlax with it.

My gravlax is very simple, and it has a hint of good Japanese nuance, because I use some shiso leaves and also "Moshio" sea salt.

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This is "Moshio" sea salt, from a small island off Hiroshima in Japan. In the process of the salt's making, "hondawara" seaweed was cooked in sea water and roasted with the salt until it becomes like ashes. This is the most ancient style of seaweed. In the island, they recovered ancient clay pots (yes, donabe!) which were used for making "Moshio" over 1,000 years ago from the ruins! "Hondawara" seaweed is very rich in umami flavor, so this ancient style sea salt is naturally rich in umami flavor and also very mild.

"Moshio" has been a staple ingredient in my kitchen. It's even great for a simple onigiri (rice ball) with no other ingredients. The good news..."Moshio" sea salt is distributed in the US, so US people can order online easily.

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So, I make the seasoning for curing salmon by using "Moshio" sea salt. Here's my gravlax recipe.

"Moshio" Gravlax

(Seasoning mix)
3 tablespoons "Moshio" sea salt
2 teaspoons Okinawa black sugar or raw brown sugar
1/3 cups (80 ml) chopped dill
1 tablespoons chopped shiso

1 1/2 pound (650 g) salmon filet, skin removed

  1. Mix together the ingredients for the seasoning mix.
  2. Line a tray with a piece of plastic wrap and spread half amount of the seasoning mix. Place the salmon over the seasoning mix and cover the top surface with the remaining seasoning mix. Spread evenly to cover all sides of the salmon.
  3. Tightly wrap the salmon with plastic wrap. Put another tray or a small cutting board over the salmon and put a weight (about twice the weight of the salmon). I use 3 packages of tofu as a weight:-)
  4. Let the salmon cure in refrigerator for 24 hours.
  5. Unwrap and gently rise off the seasoning from the salmon and pat dry.
  6. Slice and enjoy.
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After 24 hours, the salmon will release some juice. It's gently rinsed and patted dry, then the gravlax is ready.

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Here's a simple gravlax salad. I spread shavedfennel bulb in the bottom, sprinkle some salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Then I make a layer of sliced gravlax, garnish with fennel and sliced radish, and drizzle a little more lemon juice and olive oil. That's it. This salad is so simple and so tasty. My salmon gravlax is umami rich with "Moshio" seaweed with a hint of shiso. So wonderful!