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09 July 2009

how to make gravlax (a video)

It's salmon season around here. Wild Alaskan sockeye rests on beds of ice at the grocery store. We've been searing and grilling, making breakfast with leftovers. This time of year, we eat as much salmon as possible.

Once it's out of season, we won't be eating it again until next year.

If, by some chance, you have grown tired of barbequed salmon or king salmon with crispy skin, you might want to try your hand at gravlax.

We've been eating this gleaming home-cured salmon for weeks. And then it occurred to us: it has been a long time since we did a video for you.

And so, may I present to you:

The Chef Shows You How to Make Gravlax.

p.s. We've had so many requests lately for us to come to different parts of the country and teach. Sadly, with a baby, and book deadlines, that's not going to happen for awhile. But we've been thinking about offering online cooking classes, based on the concept of these videos. What do you think? Would you be interested in taking some, for a small fee?

However, if you live anywhere near Seattle, we'd love to see you this Sunday at Diane's Market Kitchen for a class called Say Yes to Gluten-Free. In talking about the abundance possible in living gluten-free, we'll also be teaching you how to make shaved fennel/Rainier cherry/radish salad, a pasta with prosciutto, fava beans, and English peas, and raspberry tarts. (Did you see the pictures of the pie crusts we have been making lately?) We'd love to see you there.

p.p.s. Speaking of pie, our friend Lorna did a beautiful job of evoking the magic afternoon and evening we shared together on Monday, with our friends Jon Rowley and Kate McDermott. It's hard to convey what a joy it was to pick cherries from our tree, raspberries from the vine, and make pies together. So I'll let Lorna show you. Look at the photos. We want you to know: great gluten-free pie is possible.


At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I just had a question, have you ever successfully made gluten free puff pastry? I keep reading that its impossible to make gluten free....that would be so sad to me!


At 4:49 AM, Blogger Littles said...

Shawna, I love your voice, and Chef is freaking adorable. Does he have a brother?
It's time for me to put my eyebrow tweezers away, suck it up and buy some needlenose. I've been ripping my salmon pretty bad.

At 6:22 AM, Blogger Lauren Denneson said...

hooray! something else I haven't ever heard of before - the name makes it sound intimidating, but the video makes it look easy :) Your online workshop idea sounds like a good one, especially if people who pay the fee can access the videos again for reference while cooking.

At 8:18 AM, Blogger equisetaceae said...

wow. thanks for the gravlax video. the chef is right- it totally made me want to turn to my neighbour and say "shut up!"


I really enjoy learning new skills via these videos. THe only thing I would suggest if you were looking at doing a 'cooking class' online is to figure out a better camera set up. Things get very pixelated when you go in for a close-up which sort of defeats the point of the close up! Also, I'm not sure if it is the server or if it is my computer, but often the video and the sound are out of sync by 3-5 seconds which can be frustrating to follow what technique is being talked about. If you were going to charge for classes, I'd be interested in signing up (especially baking) but I think that these 2 points would need to be rememdied first before I'd want to pay for the videos.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your talent with us!

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous radish said...

i love love love gravlax. it was one of the first things I made with my mom when i was young. the idea of salt curing has always fascinated me. Love the video!

At 10:19 AM, Anonymous RH said...

I was just wondering how long this will last in the fridge?

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Julialuli said...

Lucky you! I make gravlax at Christmas, but alas, it's not fresh salmon like you have there. It must be amazing! I never thought of making it when the salmon are in season...thanks for helping me past the big "duh". It's a perfect summer treat!

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi! Thanks for the video. I do have a question- I'm not too keen on using plastic wrap (I try to stay away from as much plastic as I can). I'm wondering if you might be able to suggest another way to wrap the salmon. I'm trying to think what the Norwegian's must have done so many years ago before plastic wrap existed... some type of cloth maybe? Or is the purpose to keep the oxygen away from the salmon? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

Hey Shauna and any fellow Seattleites:

Salmon alert!

Ballard Market has fresh, SE Alaskan troll-caught King on sale for $9.99 lb through July 14!!!!

Cause for gravlax celebration, no?

At 4:11 PM, Blogger DOS said...

Thanks for this, it looks daring for me but I am tempted to try! COuld you please repeat how long the salmon should be cured. Did the chef say 24 hours or is it longer?

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Casey said...

I think online classes are a great idea! I have little kids and it's hard for me to get out of the house, period, and I love taking classes in my pajamas!

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Leslie said...

The Whole Foods in Westlake (Seattle) has wild sockeye salmon on sale for $6.99/lb. The Ballard Market can suck on that!

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

King -vs- Sockeye? Not a competition. More fat and more omega 3's in King. Worth $3 extra...

And this from the hubby who has been in the fish biz for years and years.

Don't get me wrong, we love Sockeye. But King... it's just more butter.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Naina said...


Thank you for sharing your love of words, family and, good food.
You have been a blessing in a time of need. It has been almost a year ago that, by God's mercy I stumbled onto your site. God knew you would restore my spirit and, love of cooking.

I think the video classes will be a success. I hope you set it up where, one only pays for the lessons they want to see. Hint,
(I don't like salmon):)

At 7:10 PM, Blogger deborah said...

goodness, i have a few gravalax recipes which ive wanted to try, but never have. this is just so great!

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous alison mc said...

on-line classes excellent idea! i can see you both being great at this!

At 3:37 AM, Anonymous Cinthia said...

Wow, you got Elvis Costello to show you how to make gravlax???

j/k, but they do look alike,don't they?

At 7:09 PM, Blogger mee said...

All I can say is "I'm jealous!". We just don't have salmon runs like you people in the northern hemisphere do. Whenever I read about people smoking salmon or bottling it I feel a teeny bit wistful.Nope-wev'e got to purchase ours from the supermarket, tho' lot's more is being produced in little 'ole N.Z' these days. Anyway, enjoy!

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous matt said...

this is my favorite video of you guys. Danny is hysterically funny, and smooth as hell in the kitchen. Love watching him. Love the documentary style of these video's too.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Amy Green said...

Brilliant idea!! Yes, teach the classes. I love that the two of you work so closely together...there was most certainly a plan.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Nina said...

I'd never heard of gravlax until this wonderful video -- since then I've seen it mentioned in a novel and heard someone else talking about it. I would say it's time to try it, and what better way than to make my own! Thanks so much for all you do for us...BTW, pickles are now on the list of things to try also.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger keri'sworld said...

I am VERY new to this whole Gluten Free lifestyle. I am desperately doing research on what I can and cannot eat. We are in the VERY beginning stages of getting our kitchen all that it has to be, in order to keep me free of all things that make me sick - which are most things... I'm looking forward to living, instead of wishing I could!
Anyway, I am trying to find out if I can have CoolWhip. I like to use it with fresh fruit. I have looked everywhere on the site and around the net, but to no avail... Do you know?
I appreciate people like yourself who are making this transition a little more bearable and giving me information from your own experiences!!
God Bless,

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your videos are great. I enjoy learning from Chef Dan because he presents the info simply, and without any pretension. I end up thinking, "You know, I want to try that!" instead of overwhelmed.

My only suggestion would be maybe something other than "Hey Chef, what are we cooking, today?" as an intro. It always makes me think of Hee Haw's "Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?" which isn't necessarily a bad thing, just funny.

Thank you, again, for sharing you story with us.


At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love gravlax---have had it in the Scandinavian countries many times. Just wondering though if pounding it with a hammer will break down the delicate tissues of the fish? I've always seen it sliced paper thin on the diagonal. Curious as to why the Chef does it the way he does.

At 10:09 PM, Blogger Ali Segersten said...

I tried to watch the video but my darn computer is so slow that I needed to close it! I think online classes are a great idea! Cooking classes are time intensive especially if you have children to care for also. Offering them online on your own schedule and in your own kitchen would be much easier.
-Ali :)

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a very interactive 'show' style video series with audience interaction via chat would be great!

At 5:49 PM, Blogger said...

If you've never considered almond flour pie crusts, I encourage you to do so. They are delicious. I have an apple pie recipe that shows pictures of the crust along with the recipe. Best of luck - I would love to watch instructional videos, but not sure if I would pay for them - we're so spoiled by the multitude of free stuff on the web. It's possible though. Maybe some incentive, like one viewer wins something? Just an idea.

At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love an online cooking class. Love the videos!


At 8:42 AM, Blogger Glutenfree Granny said...

My experience with that mean old gluten is very similar to yours. EXCEPT, I have not been diagnosed with gluten intolerance! Yes, they've done all the tests, yes, I have had all the scans. All negative! It is very frustrating, with contemporary medical practice, to tell a Doctor all the myriad of symptoms one is experiencing and see the skepticism in his eyes. Along with all the symptoms the most pronounced symptom I had was intense pain localized behind my left eye, double vision and vomiting. I'm an RN and when my Opthalmologist told me I had "Taloosa Hunt Syndrome" ( Acute inflamation of Cranial Nerve 6 )I asked what would be the triggering agent. He didn't know. I used my medical knowledge and researched and Ta Da! I found a connection between Taloosa Hunt syndrome and gluten intolerance.
I am now gluten free, 71 years young and feel more alive than I have for at least twenty five years.
However I am still learning how to cook gluten free food. Thank you for the book and all the delicious recipes! YUM!

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Daniela Restrepo said...

Great video clip, thanks for posting it.

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous tosca teran said...

HA! I was telling my partner, "...OMG! we so totally have to get to Ikea for Gravlax- since we can't seem to find it anywhere else!" then I thought, "wait? i'll make it myself"
so it was super awesome to find Chef making it here, the last place I would have looked! My partner isa Celiac and we are mega fans. :)
MMmmm, mmm!
Thank you.


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