who can say no to Eurovision? well, lots of people, actually, but noone I admire! which is why 17 of us crammed into our small flat, (some of us dressed up) and sat through some truly terrible outfits, dance moves and songs. it was great. those who know me will agree, any event where I can dress up and feed people is going to make me happy. drinking and laughing at outragous things is just bonus.
since 2006’s Lordi scored Finland the hosting rights, it was only right to theme the food appropriately. What is really Finnish? more importantly, what is Finnish that our guests will actually eat? (yeah, I draw the line at Rolmops. sorry, but that’s going too far.)
some internet research (I don’t seem to have a Finnish cookbook in my library..) came up with: preserved fish of various types, some cabbage rolls, meatballs, borsch-like soup, mushrooms (chanterelles appear to be the favs) in salad and soup form, and cheese. found a recipe or two for “slightly salted fish” which read a lot like, well, Gravalax. I’ve always wanted to make Gravalax, mostly because Gravalax is such a cool word to say and write. it sounds so great, and especially to be offering to someone to eat. Plus, it’s a great food to make for a large-ish group, requires NO cooking, no having to be ready at a particular time, no having to be hot, no discriminate number of portions that it can divvied up into…
you just serve up a great plate of slices, with some herby dill and chive sour cream, a pile of pumpernickle squares, some red onion slivers, lemon wedges and optional baby gerkins. perfect!
MIX coarse salt and coffee sugar (the big brown coarse stuff) – about 1.5 cups of sugar, a bit more salt – maybe 2 cups, with: a bunch of dill tendrils, some dill seeds, some curls of lemon zest, a really good grinding of pepper (or whole corns would work too). work together well.
TAKE fresh as fresh, pink and perfect salmon (I bought 1kg = 4 large fillets = sooo far too much food for this event – we did serve other food – but I took heaps into work the next day, and there’s still some in the fridge, waiting to be stirred through pasta or something). pat with paper towels if you can be bothered. you know I didn’t.
line a tray with a couple of layers of cling wrap/plastic wrap/gladwrap, leaving some hanging over the edges. sprinkle a thick layer of the salt mixture in, then lay your salmon on top, then cover with the remainder of the salt mix, pushing it into crevices between fillets so they are well surrounded by the salt mix. wrap up with the overhang of cling wrap, then get the roll of wrap, and mummify the wierd little parcel like a mad spider. keep it in the tray, put something flat on top (I used a springform base that fitted nicely into the square tray) then weight (I used 2×2.5kg weights from the handweight set gathering dust under the couch). leave in the fridge for 24-48 hours (I did about 30, which was fine).
once you’ve taken a leaisurely shower, straightened your hair, put on some tricky liquid eyeliner, chosen your outfit, fluffed the cushions, put on a CD and poured a G&T, you can brush off and slice the fillets, which is easy, cos they will be quite stiff, and sorry – a gross oil will have seeped out of the wrapping, but don’t be alarmed. I think that’s the point. just squeeze some lemon juice over your piled plate of pink jewel-like slices of salmon, and serve to suitably impressed guests with condiments of choice. EASY!