How to Cure Arctic Char with Metzger Bar & Butchery
Metzger Bar & Butchery is one of the newest additions to Church Hill’s growing restaurant scene. Executive Chef and Co-Owner Brittanny Anderson and the Metzger family have received accolades near and far — Brittanny was voted “Rising Culinary Star, 2014 ” at Richmond’s annual Elby Awards, Metzger was voted “Restaurant of the Year, 2015” by Style Weekly, and Brittanny recently had a recipe featured in the Wall Street Journal. Awards aside, Metzger is tops on our list of restaurants to visit for anyone new to Richmond. In addition to incredible food, the German-influenced bar and butchery has one of the most extensively curated wine lists by Co-Owner Nathan Conway, an impressive cocktail program crafted by Kjell Anderson, and is aesthetically one of the most visually appealing restaurants in the city.
With brunch growing in popularity, we asked Brittanny to create a “how-to” for Easy Goer with a brunch focus. Because after all, what better skill to pull out of your back pocket than whipping up an impressive home-made brunch. Being the genius that she is (seriously, her talent is unreal), Brittanny suggested a recipe for curing Arctic char. This recipe can be modified to use salmon for a more traditional lax.
For 1 side Arctic Char or Salmon
4 Tb grated orange or grapefruit rind
3 1/2 Tb salt
2 Tb brown sugar
1 Tb granulated sugar
1 Tb white or pink peppercorns crushed
1 Tb juniper berries, crushed
1-2 sprigs fresh juniper, roughly chopped
Combine all ingredients and cover the flesh of the fish with the cure. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and cure in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, flipping the fish over daily. To serve, rinse the cure from the fish, remove the skin, and slice thinly.
How does this recipe from traditionally prepared gravlax?
Traditional gravlax would have citrus, crushed peppercorn, lots of fresh dill. It’s also made with salmon, not Arctic Char.
What happens in the process of curing?
Curing is a result of combining salt and sugar. They remove moisture from the fish and inhibit the growth of bacteria. Juniper and bay leaf are antiseptic. Wrap in plastic and leave for 5-7 days to go through the real process of curing.
How do “lox” and “lax” differ?
Traditional Jewish lox is different than "lax" because it is cured then smoked.
Where did gravlax originate?
Gravlax originates from Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Sweden.
How are Arctic Char and Salmon similar?
They’re both fatty and oily fish with a firm texture. They both take to curing well. Arctic char is more mild than salmon. It tastes more like the water to me.
How should you eat gravlax?
At Metzger we serve with latke, but it would be really good on a potato chip with crème fraîche.