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SPECIAL EQUlPMENT: Culinary-grade cheesecloth to wrap the fillets Heavy objects to weigh down the salmon as it cures, such as a bag of sugar or flour, bags of dried beans, or a jug of cooking oil. Put the peppercorns in a small plastic bag and crush, using the bottom of a heavy skillet. Add the sugar and salt to the hag and blend well together. Place 1 cup cilantro and the dill and chives together in the howl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and chop fine. Lay a clean, washed, approximately 16-inch-square single layer of cheesecloth on a clean work surface. Place the fish fillets skin-side down on the cheesecloth. Spread the pepper/sugar/salt mixture evenly over the salmon. Spread the chopped herbs in the same manner and then sprinkle the tequila over the herbs. Once all the tequila has been absorbed, sandwich the two fillets together, flesh to flesh and skin sides out. Position the fillet "sandwich" in the center of the cloth and wrap as you would a gift, pulling the cloth as tightly as possible around the fillets. Lay the package on a cake cooling rack set in a pan. The rack allows air to circulate for more efficient drying, while the pan will catch the liquid expelled during the 3-day curing period. Put the weight in a second, smaller cake pan and place it on top of the fillets to press out the unwanted water. Place the entire contraption in the bottom of your refrigerator. Turn every 24 hours, replacing the weight each time. At the end of the 3 days, remove the cloth, discard any accumulated liquid, scrape off the herbs, rinse with water, and pat the fish dry. To serve, finely chop one cup of fresh cilantro and cover the flesh side of the fish. Using a very sharp knife, slice the salmon as thinly as possible, at a 45-degree angle. Your first slices may look a bit rough, but be patient. With a little practice youll soon he turning out elegant green-edged red ribbons of gravalax. Serve on pumpernickel with spicy mustard and wedges of lime. * * Visit Bantam Doubleday Dell Online, a web site which provides free excerpts of upcoming books; the URL is http://www.bdd.com Per serving (excluding unknown items): 5 Calories; less than one gram Fat (16% calories from fat); 0g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 2mg Sodium NOTES : Rather than using smoke or heat, this traditional Scandinavian technique uses salt, sugar, alcohol, time, and a pressing weight to produce a silky, moist-textured cured fish that is as versatile and appealing as smoked salmon. In this New World rendition -- one of the most popular appetizers served at 21 -- tequila replaces aquavit, and cilantro and chives join the traditional dill flavoring. Excerpt From: The 21 Cookbook by Michael Lomonaco with Donna Forsman Recipe by: Chef Michael Lomonaco Posted to bbq-digest V5 #735 by RockMc
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