Yes there is plenty to love about Ina but I must admit, sometimes I find her recipes can be a bit involved and she makes me feel guilty if I don't make my own chicken stock (because it's a perfect Sunday project) or decide to fill my neighbor's refrigerator with food after they've been away on a long vacation. Or worse - if I fail to make a mini replica of my wedding cake to celebrate my anniversary. By the way, do you think her husband Jeffrey explodes in a fit of rage if she doesn't use two tablespoons of "good vanilla"? Just wondering.
On a recent episode, Ina demonstrated how easy it is to make your own gravlax - one of Charles' favorite foods. She made it seem so simple- all you have to do is rub a mixture of salt, sugar, fennel seeds, cracked white pepper and some dill onto 3 lbs of salmon, wait 24 hours while you bake off some scones and voila - GRAVLAX!
Of course, Charles gets this crazy idea in his head that he needs to cure his own gravlax and for the past three weeks, he has been pleading with me during each grocery trip to purchase what would be $30 worth of salmon. I finally broke down and suggested he try a smaller version of the recipe. This way if it didn't work out then it would be 1 lb of fish rotting in our refrigerator instead of 3.
We followed the recipe to the letter - which meant turning the fish every twelve hours. We started the recipe at 1 pm in the afternoon and Charles woke up at exactly 1 am to baste the salmon and turn it. I have to give him credit for this. About two days later, it was ready to go and I must say - it is by far some of the best gravlax I've ever had. Delicious!
Here is the recipe if you would like to try it yourself. You can pair it with a bottle of sparking wine such as Prosecco or Champagne, although I find the Prosecco works better since gravlax tends to have a bit more sweetness to it. Szigeti Sparkling Gruner Veltliner from Austria ($20) could also be a fun pairing. It's slightly fruity and similar in style to a Prosecco. If you wanted something really authentic then serve the gravlax with Scandinavian Aquavit which is a distilled spirit flavored with caraway seeds or cumin and other spices.
I suppose we can all have the Barefoot lifestyle - as long as we're willing to put in the time and effort. And in case you're wondering - we tried the recipe again but this time with the full 3 lbs. That's a lot gravlax and as Ina would say "how bad could that be?"