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Recipe File: Gravlax
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pectin232



Joined: 15 Dec 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I do not use Shushi grade salmon... I am confused with the part on freezing the fish for 7 days at -10 degrees. Do I freeze the entire fish 'DURING' preparing the Gravlax with the Kosher Salt+ SOME SUGAR inside already with the dill or DO I prepare the plain salmon first by killing the organism by freezing it? I am not sure if I am saying this right.... please let me know. Do I kill AND prepare the Gravlax at the same time or do it one at a time??
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1011
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fish, regardless of "grade" - can harbor parasites - that is the reason for the recommended freezing times for eating raw fish.

see: http://www.sushifaq.com/sushi-sashimi-info/sushi-grade-fish/
for some basic info.

so far as making gravlax, freeze for the prescribed time, thaw & then prepare.

there is a theory that the salt will kill parasites but I've not found any research to back that up.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So any fish from a regular grocery store [costco, sam's club] can be used then? As I hate to pay big money for those so called 'sushi' grade paying 4-5x more and still have to do this 'freezing process' ? when I can possibly use a regular grade Salmon, do this freezing and kill the parasites and still be good? It will be good if I can use a very high quality regular grade salmon instead of 'sushi' grade.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1011
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if you follow those links, you'll see that the "definition" of "sushi grade" is pretty much up to the fish monger - there is no "legal" definitions that apply to the labeling that I know of.

that said, "sushi" grade should be the best quality - fat content, condition of the flesh, color, etc.

is sushi grade required for gravlax and its cousins? personally I think not, but that's a subjective opinion. some of the best I've had was homemade by Swedes - caught local - and not "graded" at all other than "how big you want?"

"fresh" and in excellent condition - whether never frozen or frozen at sea - is the key thing. if you watch the fillets in the fish counter, after 2-3 days you'll notice the flesh starts to fall apart - small "tears" typically in the thickest portion. not good stuff at that point. fresh or freshly thawed, the fish flesh should be firm and intact.

if your market typically carries fillets - ask them if you can buy them still frozen. I frequent buy fish frozen and thaw at home - no questions about how long it's been sitting around "on ice" - then again, when I ask the nice lady who has been at the counter for ten+ years "so how's the xxx?" I'll get an enthusiastic good, or a shrug or a wrinkled nose. tells me all I need to know . . .
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markoboy
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what if my freezer can reach only 0 degrees Fahrenheit> I know there might still be parasites. I am curious... on this. 100s or even thousands of years... if people were to eat Gravlax without any form of refrigeration how do they survive? I would like to make it myself but to buy a special freezer to make it is insanely expensive. any suggestions? I am just going to do it.. freeze it still for 7 days [without reaching that level only] and cure it.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

markoboy wrote:
what if my freezer can reach only 0 degrees Fahrenheit> I know there might still be parasites. I am curious... on this. 100s or even thousands of years... if people were to eat Gravlax without any form of refrigeration how do they survive? I would like to make it myself but to buy a special freezer to make it is insanely expensive. any suggestions? I am just going to do it.. freeze it still for 7 days [without reaching that level only] and cure it.

This is where the issue become a bit more complex. The standard of -4°F for 7 days is recommended by the US FDA, which is why we generally provide that as our one line recommendation. This standard errs on the side of caution. Studies have shown that many anisakid larvae (the main form of parasite we're concerned with) die at 0°F after just 24 hours. Another complication to all of this is exactly what you were leading up to: why aren't more people sick? Well, it turns out that seafood-borne parasitic worms (nematodes / anisakids) don't live all that well in mammalian guts. We just aren't all that compatible. The larvae usually die within a day to a week and never get the chance to mature. For most people, they won't even feel any discomfort. For others (where the worms stay alive a little longer), it's a prolonged stomach ache or sharp lasting pain that goes away within the week. It is rarely fatal unless the individual has a severe allergic reaction to the parasite.

So, armed with this information, it's a little bit of risk analysis. Following the US FDA recommendation of -4°F for 7 days (or -31°F for 15 hours), you'll be extremely safe. Freezing in your 0°F freezer will help, but might not be as safe as -4°F (and is certainly better than not freezing at all). If you still don't feel comfortable, just ask your fishmonger for salmon that has been frozen. The fish that is frozen on the fishing vessels and kept frozen to the market are almost certainly flash frozen and kept at -4°F or below to preserve quality and texture. Don't be afraid to ask your fishmonger what temperature his freezer is set to for your peace of mind.
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AllieGeekPi



Joined: 26 Dec 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:47 am    Post subject: Best ever gravlax! Reply with quote

I made it this week using fresh atlantic salmon (didnt freeze it). I used the exact ratios of salt and sugar and pepper as those posted by Michael Chu in the original recipe. And lots of fresh dill. I weighted the salmon with a bag of water as explained in the comments. Wow, I'm thrilled with the results. I'll be making this again and again. I'll never buy prepared lox again. Many thanks to the author. Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:31 am    Post subject: Results of gravlax done Reply with quote

I took it out today after putting it in for 3 days. The gravlax was a little too salty. I used probably too much salt [Korean big package sea salt]. It tasted ok but not perfect. The flesh was a little too firm. I wrapped up the 2 pieces of fish using some plastic wrap and putting it on a rectangular bowl. The water that comes out ever 12 hrs was disposed of. I had dill in between the 2 peices of salmon and pepper corns in between. Taste wise was ok but not soft as I thought it would. I used the entire fish. The middle part of the fish was good and not too salty but the lower tail end was way too salty. Lucky I did not put it in fo 7 days as that would have made it too salty. I believe too much salt was usedl. Just wondering why was the meat firm then from the middle to the tail end was like soft leather.
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ilona
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:13 am    Post subject: gradlax with red snapper Reply with quote

i've been making gravadlax for three years, but never with salmon. i use red snapper because in pakistan atlantic salmon is not easily available and i'd rather use what's fresh. a foodie friend of mine introduced me to the idea of making gravadlax as she knew i love pickled herring, smoked salmon, sashimi and ceviche. at one time she was a friend of the swedish ambassador's wife, who told her that all the years she lived here she made gravadlax using red snapper.

every time i've made it using this fish, it's been praised...so much so that several friends now make their own...
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1011
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

quote:
Red Snapper range from Massachusetts down to Florida and west through the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan and the Caribbean.
unquote

so exactly how is red snapper available more fresher than Atlantic salmon in Pakistan?
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Bobby
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:23 am    Post subject: Gravlax Reply with quote

Stardate: 2-27=2012
This is my new venture into the world of Gravlax. I drasticly cut down the salt while increasing sugar dramaticly. Brown sugar is the way to go folks. No dill, I did add a slight bit of liqued smoke combined with a touch of Jamacian Jerk and just a bit of Old bay seasoning. After enclosing into a Vacumed sealed plasic bag something seemed amiss and then it hit me. I forgot to wrap the entire concoction tightly in Cheesecloth. The means in which i keep all the spices and flavors ground into the flesh. Instead it was sitting there in all its see through glory looking every bit store bought. Well there it is and there it will be. That was two days ago and looking into the clear window, I see liquid collecting and slowing moving over the fillet when moved. Got a day or two left and i'll try to report back with the results. Looking for a more Lox like product. It has worked for me before but thought i'd try a few changes this time.
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Bobby
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:41 pm    Post subject: Gravlax Reply with quote

Ok, I blew this one. To much jerk seasoning and guess what? You won't believe this but, Not enough salt and the strangest thing is, My wife and mother in law loves the stuff. Well they can have it all. It's not to my liking so i thawed another plank from the freezer. Guess i'll make it up either tonight or tomorrow. This one will be more like the second one minus the jerk seasoning. Gotta get this salt thing down pat though. Never ever thought i'd be too low on salt. Ok, i'll move up to one Flat tablespoon and thats it.
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Bobby
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:22 am    Post subject: Gravlax Reply with quote

I'm not sure if I'm speaking to Michael Chu or Markboy but in reference to:
What if my freezer can reach only 0 degrees Fahrenheit: I know there might still be parasites. I am curious... on this. 100's or even thousands of years... if people were to eat Gravlax without any form of refrigeration how do they survive? I would like to make it myself but to buy a special freezer to make it is insanely expensive. any suggestions? I am just going to do it. freeze it still for 7 days [without reaching that level only] and cure it.

What I do is this: I purchase Wild caught frozen Sockeye Salmon. Why? Because I was told after asking that it came into the store that way, Frozen solid. It is sold frozen solid. This was a supermarket so the next question was if this fish spent anytime in their deep freezer and just how deep was it? They were 20 under 0 degrees. I then asked them how long had they had the fish. They showed me the date received. After that I came to a conclusion that at some time and at one time for sure this fish had been under conditions fatal to parasites and so now, that's where I buy my planks. I and my family have never had a tummy ache or any other sickness in regards to this Food. Now, In reference to your statement that: I am just going to do it. freeze it still for 7 days [without reaching that level only] and cure it.
Well, let us know how that works out for you and good luck.
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1011
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a lot of people, including Michael, browse through.

if the fish has already been frozen, I would not recommend freezing it again.

I've forgotten the exact specifics, but I think 0'F is workable - it's x days at minus something or y days at something warmer than that -
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1626
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Gravlax Reply with quote

Bobby wrote:
I'm not sure if I'm speaking to Michael Chu or Markboy but in reference to:
What if my freezer can reach only 0 degrees Fahrenheit: I know there might still be parasites. I am curious... on this. 100's or even thousands of years... if people were to eat Gravlax without any form of refrigeration how do they survive?

As I've mentioned before, most people don't get sick because seafood-borne parasites do not, in general, survive well in mammals. Some people will get stomach aches or pain that lasts about a week. A smaller group of people may have an allergic reaction to the parasites which can lead to fatality depending on the severity of the illness. The curing process can also reduce the surviving parasites and thus the incidence of illness from consuming this type of food. Chances are, some people were getting mildly sick over the last thousand years, but they were probably getting more sick from unclean drinking water, etc. and dealing with those problems was a higher priority.

Bobby wrote:
They were 20 under 0 degrees. I then asked them how long had they had the fish. They showed me the date received. After that I came to a conclusion that at some time and at one time for sure this fish had been under conditions fatal to parasites and so now, that's where I buy my planks.

20 F degrees under 0F or 20 C degrees under 0C? At -20C, the fish is considered safe by the US FDA from parasitic worms after 7 days. At -20C (-4F), the fish would be safe sooner than that. The FDA recommends -35C (-31°F) for 15 hours for safety, so -20F would be somewhere in between 15 hours and 7 days. I doubt it's linear, but a couple days in the market freezer should be good enough.
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