Gravlax, typically made with salmon, gets an aromatic twist with grapefruit zest and crushed green peppercorns. Plan to make this at least 3 days ahead to let the fish cure.  As always, along the Sporting Road, the gravlax is best made with fresh, wild fish that you have harvested yourself.

Arctic char are prized by fishermen around the world as a beautiful, good-fighting sport fish that can grow to more than 20 pounds in the depths of cold, freshwater lakes. Dillon Reservoir is the only public destination in the lower 48 states, outside of Maine, where anglers can have a chance to land the fish.  The recipe also works well with kokanee salmon, as shown here.

8 Servings

Recipe adapted from The Bon Appétit Test Kitchensalmon

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2-pound side of arctic char, skin on, pinbones removed
  • 3 T. plus 2 tsp. finely grated white or pink grapefruit zest
  • 3 T. French sea salt kosher salt plus more
  • 2 T. muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. plus 1 tsp. dried whole green peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 T. juniper berries, well crushed
  • 1/2 c. crème fraîche
  • 1/2 c. minced fresh dill, divided
  • Crackers or toasts (preferably rye)

INSTRUCTIONS

Place arctic char skin side down on a large piece of plastic wrap. Mix 3 Tbsp. grapefruit zest, 3 Tbsp. salt, both sugars, 1 Tbsp. crushed green peppercorns, and crushed juniper berries in a small bowl; sprinkle mixture over fish, spreading evenly and pressing gently so spices adhere. Wrap plastic tightly around fish, then wrap with another large sheet of plastic. Gently poke 24 small holes through plastic (not fish) on both sides of fish with a thin skewer or the tip of a sharp knife to allow juices to escape. Put fish on a rimmed baking sheet. Top with another rimmed baking sheet; weigh it down with two 15-oz. canned goods. Refrigerate for 2 days, turning fish after 1 day.     Remove canned goods and top baking sheet. Unwrap and discard plastic, keeping cure intact. Rewrap in clean plastic and poke holes in plastic as before. Place in a clean resealable plastic bag; refrigerate, skin side up. Chill for 1 more day. Gently scrape off cure.     Whisk crème fraîche, 2 tsp. dill, and remaining 1 tsp. crushed green peppercorns in a small bowl. Season with salt. Thinly slice gravlax on a diagonal and serve on crackers. Top with créme fraîche and garnish with re-maining 2 tsp. grapefruit zest and 1 tsp. dill.

SERVE WITH

1 c. gin, 1/2 c. simple syrup, 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice, strained into champagne flutes.  Top with champagne, and garnish with lemon twists.