I've been looking for ways to use up the frozen whiting I've got that doesn't involve just frying it up. It's not really good enough to eat without a transmutation into some more interesting form.
The more interesting form, as you may have gathered from the title, is gravlax. If you haven't seen my previous posts on this dish [variation one and variation zero], gravlax is a Swedish cured fish, most commonly made with salmon and flavored with dill.
Making it with whitefish isn't unheard of, though. I'm using two small fillets of the whiting here, for the cure a Tablespoon of sugar and a Tablespoon of kosher salt, and for flavoring a couple big pinches of dried fines herbes and the zest of half a lemon. As is traditional when you've got two fillets (as one traditionally does), I heaped the cure and flavorings on top of one filet and laid the other on top, both skin side out, wrapped it up and let it rest in the refrigerator for three days, flipping every 12 hours. I must say that the flipping makes more sense in this configuration than it did with a single piece of fish.
After that time, it's squished flat and nice and firm. The texture is rather like smoked herring and the flavor not too far from pickled herring. I'm thinking the lemon, which is surprisingly strong given how little zest I used, is reminding me of the vinegar while the salt and sugar are strongly reminiscent of salt and sugar. Both are a tad too strong, actually, so, after I peel off the skin, I'm going to soak the fish in clean water for a few minutes to try to draw a little out. ... OK, now the whitefish flavor is to the fore with subtle hints of the lemon and herbs. It's a more balanced flavor now, but honestly I think I liked it better before. A little finishing salt fixes it right up and now the flavor's popping again. I'm going to slice it up and eat it with cream cheese, red onion, tomato and, lacking pumpernickel bread, crackers. Mmm, tasty.