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29 Days of Honey – Elul 5781 – Honey & Etrog Gin Cured Gravlachs

I’ve challenged myself to post 29 honey recipes in the next month – BEFORE Rosh Hashana.

Not just your Bubbe’s honey cake. As a beekeeper and avid cook, I can take you and your honey places you’ve never been before- culinarily speaking.

So grab your honey and let’s get buzzin’.

Honey Color

Honey can vary in color from almost white to dark amber. The color of honey is generally dependent on the floral source. Darker colored honeys tend to be more strongly flavored.

Apparently, those floral sources can also impact the botanicals used in the creation of gin- who knew?! It’s not just juniper berries. Frankly, they are a bit homely although they remain the star of the show in any gin lineup.

Road trip!

We took the opportunity to pursue a locally pollinated, seasonally appropriate gin. Why? – Because we wanted to make honey-cured gravlachs. Unlike standard gravlachs (treading lightly here, as the gravlachs consumer is typically above-average) honey-cured gravlachs prefers an alcohol more subtle than vodka. This allows the other flavorings to penetrate the salmon during the curing period for a sublime lachs experience.

We spent the morning with David Zibbel, owner and master distiller of the Golani Distillery, to learn more about how gin is made and what makes his so special. We were amazed at the number of botanicals involved in the creation of his specific blends. After some deliberation (well frankly, not much – but…) we selected the etrog gin for that extra citrus-y and seasonal edge for our center-cut salmon. Highlights of our cooking-and-cocktail escapades are available on a YouTube channel near you…

Honey-Cured Gravlachs

I spell it lachs. Some spell it lox, or lax (my hubby, Beekeeper Dave is also an editor…-DB;). But don’t call the whole thing off.

What you’ll need:

  • 1-1.5kg center-cut salmon fillet, de-boned
  • Ziploc bag(s) or serious plastic wrap
  • 2 small bowls
  • Pair of plates or dishes for smooshing the salmon while it cures
  • 1-1.5kg center-cut salmon fillet, de-boned
    • I usually cut the salmon into slabs to fit in the bags. Sizes may vary, so portion your ingredients appropriately
  • 30-50 ml gin
  • 30g whole-grain mustard
  • 30-50g honey
  • 100g coarse salt
  • 100g sugar
  • 10g fresh dill – dry will do, but not 10g, please!
  • Spoonful of juniper berries

Phase I

  1. Put the slabs into individual bags (I can’t do Al Pacino, but try to imagine it)
  2. Mix the salt and sugar together in a bowl
  3. In another bowl mix the mustard, honey, and gin
  4. Apportion the salt/sugar mixture among the bags
  5. Do the same with the honey/mustard/gin
  6. Add 3-5 juniper berries to each bag
  7. Apportion the dill among the bags
  8. Squeeze out the air and seal

And now – be patient!

Find a spot in your refrigerator to park your bagged slab, preferably between 2 plates, so you can put something heavy on top (there goes Al again…) It’s good to consider the integrity of your bag & plate arrangement at this point, as leaks have been known to occur. This is not a mess you want to have.

Flip the slab once or twice a day for the next 3-5 days. Up to a week is ok too.

Phase II
You’ll need a really sharp knife and a cutting board

  1. Remove the slabs from the bags and rinse under cold water.
  2. Slice as thinly as you possibly can. There are a variety of techniques. They all work, so don’t be intimidated by the guy from Harrods who can dispatch an entire fish in 90 seconds. I no longer fuss with the angle cut, but go straight across and down. But a sharp knife is essential here, although it tastes just as good shredded.
  3. Serve chilled with sliced lemon and/or…

Honey-Mustard Dill Sauce

  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs chopped, fresh dill – if you must use dried, then use less. It freezes well, and makes great gifts!

For the video version of this adventure visit our YouTube channel.




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