While smoked fish from your favourite fishmonger works well for this recipe, curing the salmon yourself allows you to adjust its flavour to suit the sandwich. The gravlax recipe here calls for vodka, but purists might want to try it with potent Scandinavian aquavit, which is often flavoured with the spices and herbs included in this cure.
Servings: 6 open-faced sandwiches
Ready time: 20 minutes, plus 1 day to cure the salmon
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp chopped dill, plus more for garnishing
2 tsp lemon juice
6 slices light rye bread
Butter, as needed
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 lb cured salmon (see recipe) or smoked fish, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups coarse salt
1 cup roughly chopped dill
2 tbsp crushed coriander seeds
1 1/2 tbsp crushed black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup vodka (optional)
1 lb very fresh salmon fillet, centre cut, boned and skinned
Prepare the dill sauce by mixing the yogurt, mayo, dill and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Spread the bread with butter and then some of the dill sauce. Divide the red onion and cucumber equally among the bread slices. Top with salmon and garnish with dill sprigs.
For the cured salmon: In a bowl, combine the sugar, salt, dill, coriander seeds, pepper, zest and vodka, if using.
Lay out two 12-inch pieces of plastic wrap to form an X.
Spread out half of the salt mix in the middle of the plastic wrap and lay the salmon on top. Spread the remaining salt mix on top. Fold over the sides of the plastic, wrapping the salmon tightly and making sure it is evenly covered in the salt mix. Wrap a second time in plastic wrap to make sure it is well sealed.
Place the salmon in a deep plate or baking dish and let cure in the fridge for 18 hours, flipping after 9 hours.
Drain any accumulated liquid. Unwrap the salmon, scrape off the salt mix and discard. Rinse the salmon quickly under cold water and dry thoroughly. Keep tightly wrapped for 2 days in the fridge or slice thinly and use immediately.