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Gravlax & cornbread

August 6, 2011

Cornbread and gravlax are perfectly delicious on their own, but they’re richly wonderful together without being sickening. Specifically, this cornbread from Like a Strawberry Milk, which was a perfect introduction to cornbread. I previously thought: why on earth would I bother? Of course, it’s not everyone’s idea of bliss, but I love that it’s tastes familiar and comforting yet a little different. I’ll never underestimate corn again.

Then there’s gravlax, which any salmon lover should try to make at home given how easy it is. I used dried dill, which still tasted pretty damn good, but of course if you have fresh stuff, go nuts with that (literally…have you seen these pictures?!). Just remember your dried dill should still be an appetising shade of green, or it’ll taste more like dust.

All you need to do is rub salt, a little less sugar, and pepper all over the salmon. Then sprinkle dried dill all over or arrange fresh dill over the non-skin side, and wrap it up in plastic (I tried to think of something less environmentally-hatin, but until I’ve tried it I don’t want any disasters…any suggestions?). Anyway, you leave it wrapped in a dish in the fridge, preferably with something weighing on it, for 2-3 days, then you unwrap, slice thinly with a very sharp knife, and serve with whatever condiments you like. Mine was quite salty (yay!), with a very subtle dill flavour.

The texture is a lot nicer than fresh salmon (like sashimi, for example), as the salmon is a little more dried out from the salting (quite a bit of liquid is emitted from the fish over the 3 days). I’d recommend some lemon or lemony cream cheese on a very light rye or ciabatta…or with this cornbread!

Savoury cornbread

adapted slightly from Like a Strawberry Milk

makes one 9×4 loaf

  • 400g milk (I used a bit of yogurt in place of the milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 60g butter, melted
  • about 1 c frozen or fresh peas or corn, or diced peppers in summer
  • a handful spring onions (scallions/green onion) – do NOT omit, this really makes the cornbread stand out
  • 170g instant polenta (in Chch? I bought mine at Med Foods)
  • 60g flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp fine sea salt*
  • optional: grated cheese to sprinkle on top
*I used 1Tbsp, which was the original recipe, and this was nicely salty for me, but it might be a bit much for some people.
Preheat oven to 180C (350F), with a rack centred. Very generously grease a 9×4 loaf tin, preferably with butter.
Beat together the milk, eggs, and butter, then mix in the polenta. Let sit while you prep other ingredients.
Sift dry ingredients into the polenta. Bake until a skewer inserted comes out clean (wriggle it a little when it’s in the bread, as the crust sometimes gives the illusion that the skewer has come out clean…get my drift?)
Let cool completely before running a knife around the outside and tipping out (it’ll be a bit stubborn if you weren’t really generous with the greasing).
Mine wasn’t actually cooked when I first made it and it fell apart, spewing uncooked polenta. I chucked it back in the pan and in the oven, and it was fine…I just had “torn” slices, not neatly cut ones. Meh.
Fanny suggests using butter, lime, and chilli with the cornbread, and that sounds amazing. I had gravlax, lemon and garden greens. You’ll probably have something else – yet there are so many possibilities I can’t even begin to name them. Treat it like a richer and moreish savoury bread. It’d make a nice change in most brunch dishes, and I can only imagine it better toasted (I wasn’t patient enough to find out for sure though). Leftovers are best lightly heated in the microwave for next-day enjoyment. EDIT: Just made this again today and added some chipotle flakes and fresh red chilli to the batter, then had it warm topped with chevre. HELL YES.
PS. I’ve gotten into hot chocolates made with coconut milk…in a big way! I use half coconut milk, half water (otherwise it’s way too thick) so it works out about the same as milk, but it tastes special and delicious. Totally going to try it in place of soy milk in these pumpkin muffins too.
5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2011 2:25 am

    Beautiful photo. Dill is always excellent with fish, what a unique combination of flavors and textures with the corn and salmon.

  2. August 7, 2011 12:19 pm

    J: The spring onion in the cornbread makes all the difference! Spring onion and fish are meant for each other :)

  3. August 8, 2011 7:18 am

    Nice photos and interesting combo. Never thought to put these together but it sounds great.

  4. August 8, 2011 12:35 pm

    J: I can imagine this cornbread would be fine with any type of cured or smoked salmon, but not so much fresh salmon. So there is that.

  5. August 8, 2011 9:31 pm

    I love cornbread (but I’m partial to the sweet kind over savoury) but have never thought to try it with gravlax. Neither have I ever thought about making gravlax (just hadn’t crossed my mind). You’re blowing my mind! But in a very good way – I love salmon so shall be adding this to my ever-growing to-make list :)

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