"In wildness is the preservation of the world." -H.D. Thoreau

Why eat from the wild? The answer is obvious to anyone who has felt the emotional uplift from the weight of a basket brimming with morel mushrooms, the earthy-sweet scent of digging Sassafras roots, or the heavy pulsing of a fish testing the limits of your fly rod.
There are a million reasons to eat wild, to get dirty, to taste fresh food. It is here where we connect to the Earth, our Ancestral past, immediate present and hope for a healthy future...

"Nothing else can build such awareness as surely and powerfully as practicing the ancient ecological art of humankind - foraging. It is not observation of, but rather participation in the phenomena of Nature that brings us to our greatest understanding of our place in the mosaic of life."
-Samuel Thayer The Forager's Harvest

Foraging in the Tip of the Mitten!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gravlax: Scandinavian Charcuterie

This dish always makes me think of the rugged North Atlantic Coast, thick woolen sweaters, and old tobacco pipes smoldering over mended nets. Of heavy night winds, wooden boats and superstitions of the sea. It's deliciousness and simplicity is unparalleled.

Traditionally gravlax is made with salmon (lax = salmon in Swedish) but here we substituted wild Steelhead trout from Lake Michigan. It is uncooked and salt cured fish. Salt draws out the water from the fish which delays spoilage and takes four days to finish. Here's how it goes:

2 large oily fish fillets
1/3 cup sea salt
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 tbsp rosemary (dried)
1 tbsp ground black pepper

Mix spices, sugar and herbs well. Spread evenly over the flesh exposed side of one fillet in a glass or ceramic dish.

Once evenly spread over fillet, lay other fillet on top, thick side over thin side.

Place foil over the top and a book or pan to evenly distribute weight. Add around 5lbs of weight and refrigerate. After 24 hrs remove from fridge, remove weight and foil and drain liquids. Add the foil and weight again and refrigerate. Repeat this process every 24 hrs for 4 days, although it seems that by the 2 or 3rd day there is little to no liquid to pour off. Once that 4th day is reached its ready to consume. It can store in the fridge for around 2-3 weeks. I enjoyed mine on rye cracker with organic cream cheese, salmon caviar and chive flowers. 

Of course I had to wear my cable-knit Norwegian wool sweater and clean my fishing nets while eating this. And finish it off with a bowl of Burley tobacco from my Peterson pipe. Seriously man, we gotta be authentic about this.

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