The name, stolen from Jonathan Meades, connotes solace for culinary slackers, and by coincidence fits the bill, but lax is a term for salmon from Old Norse, used today in Icelandic and Swedish (as in gravadlax) and, rarely, English. The simplicity of the dish belies its appeal. A Scandinavian assembly but redolent of British technique, probably just another coincidence. You will need to cure the fish to make a sort of gravadlax for two days before assembling the pudding. About four servings.
- about ¼ cup salt
- about ¼ cup allspice (see the Notes)
- about 2 oz white pepper
- about 2 oz sugar
- unsalted butter
- 1 lb salmon filets
- 2 lb thinly sliced potatoes
- 2 generous cups heavy cream
- Two days before you want your pudding cure the fish (make sure it is dry) by combining the salt, paprika, pepper and sugar, coating the fish in the mix and wrapping it in plastic. You will want to leave it in a shallow dish because a lot of liquid will leach from the fish.
- After 48 hours, gently remove the curing mix from the fish, rinse it thoroughly, pat it dry and slice it as thinly as the potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 400˚.
- Butter an oven dish and layer potatoes, cream and salmon until you have used everything up; end with a layer of potato.
- Dot the pudding with butter and bake until it gets bubbly around the edges and brownish on top, usually in about 45 minutes.
-Meades uses piment d’espelette instead of allspice, which is fine.
-You may buy smoked salmon instead of curing your own fish but of course the flavoring will differ. Do not go for store bought gravadlax or gravlax, however, unless you like dill.
-If you do cure your own fish, and there is nothing difficult about it, alter the cure. For the allspice or piment, substitute, for examples, dry mustard (like Colman’s) or paprika.
-This pudding, as Meades notes with approval, is an example of “‘old’ Scandinavian Cooking.” It was, as he says, “heartening in its immutability.”