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I know that we're in the middle of diet season and all, and that half of you are probably on a cleanse but I just had to write this post. It's too important not to! I too am trying to get back to my fighting weight after the carb overload and sweets coma that seem to go hand in hand with the holiday season, but let's forget all of that for a minute and treat ourselves to something decadent and awesome.

If you eat smoked salmon with any regularity then chances are you've actually had gravlax at some point. The flavor and cosistency is nearly identical, except for the lack of smoky flavor in one and the absence of herbs (dill primary among them) in the other. After a little research I found that gravlax is really easy to make and so it has become my favorite salmony treat to put on bagels with schmear and in salads. 

Today I thought I'd share a simple gravlax recipe with you because, well, I'm addicted and could use some company in this addiction (wink):

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Homemade Gravlax Recipe

3-ish lbs Salmon Fillet (skin on) 

2/3 cup Sugar

1/3 cup Kosher Salt

2 big bunches of dill

2 Tbsp. Crushed black pepper

1/4 cup anise seeds, toasted

1. Cover the bottom of a plate with plastic wrap and cover with half the salt, anise seed, pepper and sugar combined, plus 1/3 of the dill chopped. 

2. Place the salmon flesh side down on the spice and salt mixture and cover the top with the remaining salt, anise seed, pepper and sugar mixture, plus another 1/3 of the chopped dill.

3. Fold the ends of the plastic wrap around the salmon fillet and wrap the entire thing in another layer of plastic wrap for protection. Put another plate on top with a weight (I used our stone mortar) to compress.

4. Refridgerate the fish for 48-72 hours, turning it every 12 hours and redistributing the salt and herbs with your fingers. The gravlax will be firm to the touch in the thickest part of the fish when it is finished or fully-cured.

5. Once cured discard the salty brine and spices and rinse the salmon under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

6. On a freshly cleaned plate sprinkle the remaining 1/3 chopped dill and firmly press the fleshy side of the fish in the herbs.

7. Move the herbed fish to a cutting board, skin side up, and with a very sharp, narrow knife slice the gravlax diagonally, against the grain in thin slices. 

8. Serve as you wish. I like my gravlax on an everything bagel, with cream cheese, capers, and thinly sliced onion, but the skiy's the limit.

What's your favorite guilty pleasure during diet season? - b. 

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