Cured Trout with Spruce Tips (gravet ørret med granskudd)

June 12, 2019
Cured Trout with Spruce Tiips (Gravet Orret med Grandskudd)
Cured Trout with Spruce Tiips (Gravet Orret med Grandskudd)
Cured Trout with Spruce Tiips (Gravet Orret med Grandskudd)

By late spring, my watchful eyes are on full alert as I wait for the slightest sign of small buds emerging from the silent company of spruce trees spread thickly across the terrain. Speckles of light green dotted across spanning arms.

The first buds can sneak by unnoticed if you aren’t paying attention and, before you know it, in a few short weeks their season is all but gone. There’s a slight urgency to gather what is necessary and begin making a myriad of savory and sweet things like delectable syrups, salads, ice cream, and pickled tips.

Nevada Berg: Foraging for Spruce Tips

What makes these new buds, or tips, so intriguing is that they are a momentary {culinary} gift from nature. They are full of vitamin C and have a lovely citric taste. Young tips tend to be more flavorful and less acidic, so it’s good to pick them right when they are just budding and fanning out from their brown casings. However, I do enjoy using tips that are nearing the end of the season for my beer battered spruce tips, which I share the recipe for in my cookbook.

When thinking about new dishes to make with these incredible tips, I had it in mind to make gravlax, but swap out the traditional dill for spruce tips. Since we live in the mountains and have access to some of the most wonderful trout, it also felt natural to use trout in place of salmon – especially as the season for the best trout parallels that of the spruce tip, or so I’ve been told. Mountain trout with mountain tips: a local match worth exploring for.

Cured Trout with Spruce Tiips (Gravet Orret med Grandskudd)
Cured Trout with Spruce Tiips (Gravet Orret med Grandskudd)
Cured Trout with Spruce Tiips (Gravet Orret med Grandskudd)
Cured Trout with Spruce Tiips (Gravet Orret med Grandskudd)
Cured Trout with Spruce Tiips (Gravet Orret med Grandskudd)

The flavor pairings of the citrusy spruce tips and the delicate trout work so well together. You can simply use a whole trout or even a filet, fresh or frozen. Cured fish may come off as being quite an extravagant dish, but it’s quick and easy to pull together. You just need a little patience and, for this, some spruce trees.

Cured Trout with Spruce Tips (gravet ørret med granskudd)

 Serves 6-8

  • 1 whole fresh or frozen trout or 2 ¼ pounds (1 kg) filet
  • 5 tablespoons (75 g) granulated sugar per 2 ¼ pounds (1 kg) fish
  • 5 tablespoons (75 g) fine salt per 2 ¼ pounds (1 kg) fish
  • 1 cup (2.5 dl) spruce tips, with needles roughly pulled apart by hand

If using a whole trout, filet the fish so you have 2 large skin-on filets; remove the bones. I recommend checking for bones again when the curing process is complete. If using a large filet, divide the filet in half.

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and salt. Spread about 1/3 of the mixture in an even layer on the bottom of a roasting pan, top with about 1/3 of the spruce tips, and place a filet, skin side down, on top. Spread about 1/3 of the salt mixture and 1/3 of the spruce tips on the flesh side of the filet then arrange the second filet, flesh side down, on top. This way the skin is on the outside and the flesh sides are pressing against each other. Spread the remaining salt mixture and spruce tips on the skin side of the top filet, discarding any excess. Cover the filets with a cutting board or wood plank and top with something that weighs 2¼ to 4½ pounds (1 to 2 kg). Refrigerate for 2 days. Every 12 hours, turn the fish filets over without separating them and pour any juices in the pan over the top and sides of the filets. After 2 days, take the filets apart and pat them dry. Wrap the filets together in aluminum foil and refrigerate for 1 more day to enhance the flavor.

The cured trout is ready to be served at this point or can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Cured Trout with Spruce Tiips (Gravet Orret med Grandskudd)

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1 Comment

  • Reply Neil MacDonald June 14, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    Norway and cured trout! Two of my favourite things!

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