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Ellen Greene's Gravlax with Oma's Dill Sauce

Ellen Greene, associate food editor at Woman's Day, prepares this Scandinavian cured salmon because her son, Alex, doesn't like gefilte fish. It's a wonderful alternative-and multi-generational because her 91-year-old mother, Ruth Hirsh (we call her Oma, meaning Grandmother), serves her lovely dill sauce alongside. Ellen's recipe comes from "The New York Times Cookbook." Use sparkling fresh, sushi-quality salmon; order it from the fish store in advance, handle it with clean hands and keep it well chilled.

One 2- to 2 1/2-pound salmon fillet, with skin
2 small bunches fresh dill, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1/4 cup coarse (kosher) salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
Oma's Dill Sauce (recipe below) and lemon wedges

Remove long pin bones along center of salmon with tweezers or clean needle-nose pliers. Line glass dish large enough to hold salmon with plastic wrap. Place salmon skin side down on plastic wrap.

In small bowl, mix dill, salt, sugar and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over salmon, rubbing it into flesh. Cover salmon tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 48 hours or up to 3 days.

To serve: Scrape off dill and seasonings. With long, sharp knife, slice thinly on an angle, detaching slices from skin. Serve with Oma's Dill Sauce and lemon wedges. Makes 12 to 14 appetizer servings.

Make-ahead tip: Prepare 2 to 3 days ahead. Early the day of dinner, slice salmon. As you work, place slices on small plates (or tray, if space is tight), 2 to 3 slices per plate. Cover plates with plastic wrap, stacking them if necessary; refrigerate until serving.

Oma's Dill Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1 small bunch dill, finely chopped
2 scallions, minced
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

In medium bowl, mix all ingredients. Serve with Gravlax. Makes about 1 cup.

Thursday, April 13, 2000

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