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The Concierge | Hors d’Oeuvres Duty
Tea-Cured Gravlax With Ginger Butter
1 cup (2 ounces) lapsang souchong tea (see note)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
Two 1-lb tail pieces of organic salmon fillet, skin on
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 loaf cocktail pumpernickel bread.
1. Line a large glass baking dish with a double layer of plastic wrap, leaving 4 inches overhang all around. In a bowl, toss the tea with the sugar and salt. Spread half of the curing mixture in the bottom of the prepared dish. Spread the remaining half over the fish and cover tightly with the plastic wrap. Set a plate on the salmon and top with a heavy can. (I use a phone book and put a few cans on top.) Refrigerate for two days. Be careful when removing, as the fish will expel oil.
2. In a medium bowl, blend the butter with the ginger and chives and season with salt. Spread a thin layer on each slice of bread, then cut the slices on the diagonal. Taste and adjust seasoning.
3. Rinse the salmon, removing as much of the curing mixture as you can. Pat dry. Using a thin, very sharp knife, slice the salmon crosswise, going with the grain of the fish, into very thin slices. Place a small slice of salmon on each piece of bread and serve. The salmon can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for 1 week.
From Jonathan Hayes.
NOTE: McNulty’s Tea & Coffee Co. at 109 Christopher Street sells extra-smoky lapsang souchong that works perfectly for this, and it’s not expensive.