Bit of a flash of inspiration after playing with the larger press... what else needs a container to hold a liquid and the application of constant pressure? Pickles, yes. But also what about gravlax? In theory this should be a doddle with the added bonus of no risk of fish juice leaking all over the fridge. Here goes... First job was to pin bone the side of salmon. We used half a kilo, running our fingers across to check for bones and pulling them out with the tweezers. A pair of super sharp Japanese fish tweezers are included in our gravlax kit.
Dry ingredients next. A standard gravlax recipe is dill, sugar and salt. Our salmon was 500g, so we added 100g of salt (rule of thumb is a fifth of the weight of the salmon in salt). This was mixed with 60g of light muscovado sugar and a small pack of finely chopped fresh dill.
Having spent all week messing around with all number of weird and wonderful botanicals, adding dill alone seemed a bit vanilla to us. With inspiration from the gin kit, we wanted to up our game. We added juniper, coriander and black pepper into the mix. These were all in fairly restrained quantities with only a teaspoon of each. All into the mortar and pestle for a brief pounding before being mixed with the salt, sugar and dill. We gave this mix a quick drink of 50ml of homemade gin - basically a double shot.
Now for the construction of the dill/salt/sugar-salmon sandwich in the pickle press. First a layer of the salt mix on the bottom, then half the salmon, skin side down. Another liberal covering of the salt mix, the second piece of salmon skin side up, and finally yet more salt mix to top it off.
This sounds really obvious, but the neatest fit is to rotate the second piece of salmon so it fits like ying and yang. The lid was fastened, the press screwed down and it was shoved to the back of the fridge.
Symonds was on salmon-babysitting duties. This involved flipping both pieces after about 12 hours and checking the press was tight. Then 48 hours later, after several more flippings, the gravlax was ready.
We brushed off the salt mixture and sliced it thinly - about the thickness of a pound coin. The salting process firms up the fish making it easy to slice.