appetizers for 36
For the gravlax: (make 3 days ahead of serving)
1 pound side of salmon, deboned, skin on
1 cup kosher or sea salt
1 tsp peppercorns, cracked
½ bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
¾ cup maple syrup
3 tbs Brandy
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Prepare dry cure by combining salt, peppercorns and dill in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, brandy, lemon juice and olive oil.
Place salmon, skin side down, on a sheet of parchment paper (baking paper). Over the surface of the salmon, spread liquid mixture, then pack evenly with dry cure. Double wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a baking dish and weigh down, first with a flat weight such as a cutting board, then a brick or a couple of cans of soup. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
After 24 hours, drain and rewrap salmon with fresh plastic wrap. Replace weights and refrigerate again for 24 hours. Rewrap once more and refrigerate. At the end of the third day, unwrap and scrape away and discard dry cure. With a very sharp knife, slice salmon as thin as possible along the bias. The gravlax will keep in the fridge, wrapped, for up to another three days.
For the latkes:
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 medium white or yellow potatoes, grated
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 large egg
vegetable oil, for cooking
In a medium bowl, combine onion, grated potatoes, salt, pepper and egg. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Drop potato mixture by tablespoons into skillet, gently flattening each into pancakes. Cook until golden underneath. Turn over and continue cooking until both sides are cooked. Remove and place on a tray lined with paper towel. Serve with thin slices of gravlax and garnish with fresh sprigs of parsley or chives and sour cream.