Brunch with The Morrisons: Beet-Cured Gravlax, Red-Wine Pickled Onions & Toast
Beet-stained gravlax is the kind of culinary trick all entertainers need in their back pocket—impressively beautiful, melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and absurdly easy. All you need is a little time to let the salmon cure and a good knife to slice it. Once your gravlax is cured and sliced, it’s a showstopping centerpiece to anchor any brunch spread. For this brunch, we served it with its classic accompaniments—toast, capers and pickled onions—and an herby grain salad to round out the meal.
2 salmon sides
bunch of dill, saving a handful of sprigs for serving
1-2 beets, scrubbed & grated
salt, 1 cup-ish
black pepper, couple big pinches
brown sugar, 2 cups-ish, plush a couple pinches for onions
1 red onion, sliced thinly on a manolin
red wine vinegar, a few glugs
For the Salmon
Rinse salmon and pat dry
Mix together salt, sugar, black pepper and grated beets
Lay out a long piece of plastic wrap over a ½ sheet pan (sheet pan should be big enough to fit a of salmon, but small enough to fit into your fridge & the plastic wrap should drape extensively over the side of the pan). Spoon a bit of the salt-sugar onto the center of the plastic wrap that is covering the pan, then lay one piece of salmon (skin-side down) over the seasoning. Lay the other piece next to it on the extra plastic wrap. Then scoop more seasoning over both salmon sides. Using the back of the spoon, spread it so the salmon is coated everywhere—sides and all!
Lay dill sprigs over the salmon side on the pan and sandwich the other side, flesh-side-down, on top, creating a salmon and dill sandwich. Spoon the remaining beet mix over the top of the salmon sandwich. Then, using the extra plastic wrap, tightly wrap the salmon sandwich, so no air can get inside. (Sometimes, just to make sure the salmon is wrapped extra securely, I will wrap a second, clean piece of plastic wrap around it. If the saran isn’t sticking, no shame is using some tape!)
Leave the salmon in the fridge for 24-36 hours with a heavy weight on top of it. I use a couple of cast iron pans. Flip the salmon every 12 hours or so. (I prefer a lightly cured salmon, so after 24 hours the salmon flesh is just cured, but still supple and sweet.
Once cured, wipe the seasonings off the salmon, pull the skin off and slice thinly.
For the rest of the Gravlax spread
Toss sliced red onion with red wine vinegar, a tablespoon-ish of brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Let sit for at least an hour, up to overnight to pickle red onions.
Serve gravlax with pickled onions, capers, fresh cheese, extra sprigs of dill and toast.
Herby Pink Rice Salad with Red wine Vinaigrette
Pink Rice, steamed and cooled to room temp.
baby arugula or radish sprouts (any wispy green with some kick)
chopped fine herbs (parsley, mint, dill, basil)
3 to 1: Good Olive oil to Red Wine Vinegar
couple squeezes of fresh lemon
The tiniest pinch of sugar
salt and black pepper to taste
Whisk dressing ingredients together
Toss salad ingredients with dressing in a big mixing bowl, making sure you use enough dressing to really flavor the rice.
Transfer salad to something pretty and serve alongside brunch.