Gravlax Roses can make a simple and attractive holiday appetizer from dry-cured salmon. Whether you cure the salmon yourself, or just purchase it, my simple procedure can be the focus of a fancy appetizer selection that only you know was quite simple.

To me, the definition of cooking is coagulating proteins in a food product. Most often, this is accomplished by applying heat. You’ve seen the coagulation of proteins in any hamburger on your barbeque grill. The raw hamburger is twice the size of the cooked hamburger. Coagulation is the stiffening and shrinking of proteins.

To make salmon gravlax, a 50/50 mixture of coarse kosher salt and sugar is applied in a very thick layer to a raw piece of salmon. Fresh dill is place on top of that, adding more salt/sugar mixture, then a second piece of salmon and more salt/sugar. This creates a salmon and dill “sandwich”.

Wrap the salmon tightly in plastic wrap, and place it on a rack suspended above the bottom of a casserole pan. Place a heavy weight, like a gallon of juice on top of the salmon and keep it refrigerated for three days.

After three days in the cooler, you’ll notice that the salmon is considerably smaller, flatter, and that there’s a considerable amount of liquid on the bottom of the pan. This is the same reaction as if we had baked the salmon in the oven. Proteins have coagulated and moisture has been lost. The salmon gravlax is not raw, it’s been cooked by the strictest definition.

Once your dry-cured salmon is unwrapped and rinsed of excess salt and sugar, it can be very thinly sliced on the bias. This creates long, thin slices of salmon. If you wrap each of these slices around your finger, continuing one after the other, you’ll create a design that looks just like a rose.

If you’d like to make it extra fancy, a small spoon of caviar atop the gravlax roses makes it an especially elegant holiday appetizer. Place it on crostini or a artisan cracker, and your guests will think you hired a chef for the evening.

An elegant appetizer? On a bagel with cream cheese? Leave your comment with your favorite salmon gravlax dish below:

Author's Bio: 

Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur, cooking educator and founder of WebCookingClasses. You CAN learn to cook without written recipes by taking his FREE cooking class that will change the way you think about cooking forever!